By Martha Michael
While the biggest change in decades for the Sulphur Springs School District has not yet occurred – the retirement of District Superintendent Dr. Robert Nolet – the SSSD will begin the year with the usual shifts in personnel. There are always routine changes – teachers moving to new school sites, administrators retiring, and movement within the classrooms.
“In the 15 years I have worked at Leona Cox Community School, there have been MANY changes – a major remodel, position changes, personally moving classrooms four times, and a new principal or assistant principal every few years or less,” said Janet Yslas, special needs aid at Leona Cox. “I have just learned to roll with the punches. Because I work mostly with special needs children, changes in teachers are difficult. However, we have a group of teachers who have been there for a number of years, as well as a core group of substitutes who know the importance of routine for the children.”
Heather Drew is moving to a new site after almost two decades on one campus. She has taught grades 1 through 5 at Sulphur Springs Community School and, prior to that, grades 3 and 4 at Valley View Community School. This year she will move to Mint Canyon Community School, where she will take on a 4/5 split class.
“Making the decision to move to Mint was a difficult one, considering I felt as if Sulphur was and had been my home for almost 18 years,” said Drew. “But, the reality was, the (Sulphur Springs) District is my home and I was ready to challenge myself with new experiences at another site in the District that was quite the opposite of Sulphur. I expect it to be quite different in the size of the staff and the students and the diversity of the students, but also know that there will still be similarities: students who are wanting to learn, are in need of a teacher who cares about seeing them succeed, a staff that enjoys collaborating and only has the best interests at heart for their students, and an administration that has student success at its core.”
Drew worked for years at the same site as Julie McBride, who is heading to Mitchell Community School as the new principal this year.
“Seeing the ‘aha’ when a student grasped a concept he or she had been working on was priceless!” said McBride. “I moved into administration last year as an assistant principal and worked a shared assignment between Sulphur Springs and Valley View Elementary schools. Teaching will always be my passion, but I really enjoyed supporting other teachers and working with students in a completely different capacity. The school and its staff and students became my new ‘classroom’ and that has been an amazing experience.”
Kathie Goodrich is an office assistant at Mitchell School. “As with any situation, change is scary, but also exciting,” said Goodrich. “Personnel change for me is an opportunity to see things from a new perspective and to share my ideas with those joining us. Beginning the transition with a positive attitude is the best way to address any change.”
“There is always a ‘honeymoon’ period, when everyone is trying to get used to a new principal,” said Yslas. “In my opinion, the majority of the time, what you see is what you get. Good leaders are just good leaders. I think change is good, however hard it may seem at the time.”