By Ben Lawson
Among all the changes coming to Seymour Middle School this year, one thing remaining constant will be Dr. Faye Nelson’s enthusiasm for her students.
During her 10 years as principal, Nelson has seen many changes not only in her school, but in education practices. This year, she and assistant principals Amy Quincy and David Loy will be undertaking new teacher evaluations.
For veteran teachers, this will entail four evaluations throughout the year totaling several hours. For Nelson, who was a career ladder evaluator for the state from 1992-1993, this will be a familiar experience.
“I feel very comfortable with this evaluation system,” she said. “These changes can be positive.”
The student experience has changed, too. For the last three years, the school has had access to two part time nurses who are able to assess student illnesses, and consult with parents and physicians about treatment on site, even writing prescriptions.
“It’s a phenomenal system,” Nelson said. “It helps keep students in school.”
Another change she is particularly proud of is the new technology aimed at keeping the learning experience cutting edge. This includes Mimio and Promethean smart boards in several classrooms.
The interactive white boards are not cheap, but the teachers who currently have access use them every day. Nelson hopes to eventually have them in each classroom.
This year will also mark the debut of the school’s new computer lab, which will be outfitted with 25 brand new computers thanks to a grant awarded to the county.
“We’re constantly upgrading technology and making the teachers and students lives more exciting,” Nelson said.
Updating the school, including getting air conditioning for the gym for the first time in 12 years, happens during the summer since school can be a hectic time for a principal, with no two days exactly the same.
When she first took the position, some of the best advice came from high school Principal Greg Clark, who stressed that getting clerical work finished early was a necessity. This didn’t faze Nelson.
“How true that is,” she said. “I love it. I love the challenge.”
Nelson didn’t originally go into education aiming for an administration position until Bill Smith suggested it.
“Oh, that does not look like much fun to me,” was her initial response.
Now there is nowhere else she would rather be. Nelson develops a strong rapport with her students, treating them the way she wants her four granddaughters treated, which includes special activities such as the History Club’s trips to Washington D.C.
“The administration has got to be the heartbeat of the school,” she said.
Admin at the Heart of Learning
By Ben Lawson