Gayle Allensworth, the new High School Principal, has been well vested in providing school leadership in Southwest Iowa for several years. She has served a principal in Red Oak for the past 9 years as the Elementary Principal. Throughout her educational career, she has taught special education at all levels (including HS), served as a School Improvement & Professional Development Specialist for the Loess Hills AEA, a Regional Administrator for Green Valley AEA, and was a Principal & Special Education Coordinator at Villisca. She was also named as the SAI Elementary Principal of the Year in 2018. I have enjoyed spending time talking with her for the last several weeks. Her energy for life and passion for education is quite evident. I know that she will serve the District well.
Jordan Newberg, the new Assistant Principal at the JK-8, is original from Oakland, Iowa. He is a graduate of Northwest Missouri Stae. He lives in Atlantic, where he is an elementary teacher. He has excellent experience participating in the school improvement process, being a member of the C4K data team, using the Instructional Practice Inventory, and is part of the data team to support SAMI. Jordan has coached MS Wrestling and HS Soccer. He has led the YMCA soccer program for 7 years. He has demonstrated solid technology skills and has been able to communicate effectively online. I have enjoyed visiting with him and his wife. I have full confidence he will be a great asset to our team.
Over the past several weeks, the unprecedented has become commonplace in our vocabulary when we describe how we are living and responding to COVID 19. I fully agree that hearing of the devastation, seeing the fear on the media, modifying our lifestyles, and feeling the isolation is a daunting experience and unwelcomed change. I have asked, and so have many others, "what will the new normal look like?" I have spent quite a bit of time reflecting on this, and I don't know that I have complete answers. What I do know is that it will require innovation, creativity, collaboration to be successful. And, most certainly, it will require a fair amount of resiliency and courage to move forward and lead in new directions. It is something that I have talked with my friends, peers, and colleagues about. One friend was generous to share a YouTube video Simon Sinek posted with several of us. I think he makes some valid points for all of us to think about. His work is pushing me to consider dropping the word unprecedented from my word choice and taking more courage to lead the path. I am thankful for the people on our team and those who will be joining our team to work with me in this effort.