Clinton County Middle School students will begin the 2013-2014 school year with a somewhat new, but familiar face in the principal’s chair this year, as Teresa Scott was recently hired for the position.
Scott has been teaching for 25 years and considers herself to be the “mother figure” of the teachers on her staff.
“I just want to be the kind of leader the community, parents and students feel like they can come to … I want to be approachable,” Scott said. “I want them to feel like they can come to me and talk to me about things and I will be glad to listen,” Scott said. “I expect this school year to run smoothly and I expect the transition will be smooth because I’ve been here forever. There is probably only one teacher in the building who has been teaching longer than I’ve been, so having had the majority of the public in Albany in my class, I feel like I already know a large number of people, which is going to help. We have an awesome group of students and staff here and I know they will rise to the occasion.”
Scott replaces Pam Bale, who served as Clinton County Middle School Principal for the past three years.
Scott said one of the biggest reasons for her decision for applying for the position was to help the teachers with the numerous changes they will have to make.
“There are so many changes teachers are faced with right now,” Scott said. “It’s kind of overwhelming and I want to help them in the changing process. There are so many changes being made, it’s a little on the wild side.”
So far, Scott seems to fit right in as principal at the middle school. Before school has even begun, her schedule is already jam packed and with the start of school coming in three weeks, there is a lot of work to be done before the students fill her halls.
“It’s really busy, so having done the curriculum specialist job last year, I had a little bit more insight on the inner-workings of the school. That helped. I’m kind of taking a crash course right now,” Scott said. “This is like day seven on the job. It’s a huge learning curve for me, but I’m up for the task.”
Scott will have her first interaction with the students at the end of the month as orientation is set for July 29 for fifth graders from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by sixth and seventh graders on July 30, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and eighth grade from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“The largest change for the student body will be a discipline action plan,” Scott said. “It will be one we will have to do quickly because I won’t have all my staff together until July 30. We are going to try to get this in play in order for all the students to have the same expectations in all the rooms, in all of the building.”
Scott said this action plan will provide a scene of stability for the students and everything should be the same regardless of what hall or classroom they are in.
“I do think kids want boundaries and it’s unrealistic for us to think that there is a difference in expectations in every hall, every classroom. That is difficult for a child to digest. They need to know what the parameters are and I think it’s the safest thing for the students. The discipline action plan will include things that will deal with safety. This is not about putting so many rules on kids to where they hate school, it’s about the safest thing we can do.”
Scott has been teaching in the middle school since it was erected in 1993 and she thinks being a familiar face among the teachers will go a long way in her administration.
“I’ve either worked with most of the teachers or I’ve had them in my class as students … which is an awesome thing,” Scott said. “Everyone has been welcoming so far. The kids, they are what it’s all about and they are the reason we do what we do.”
With 25 years in the classroom, the assumption would be a move to principal would be a complete change for most people, however, Scott believes the role of the principal has changed during the past several years.
“The expectation of the principal is to be the instructional leader, which means being involved with the student body and the teachers,” Scott said. “I think it’s important for the students to know that I care that they are safe and that they learn. That is mainly what we are going to focus on this year. We have a safe culture and climate that is capable of learning.”
Scott plans on being in front of the students to let them know she cares about their school work.
“I do think it is of utmost importance that they see I’m involved and I care about whether or not they learn and achieve at the highest level possible,” Scott said. “We are really going to try and guard our instructional time as much as we can. We want our time on task to be at an extremely high percentage.”
Moving from the classroom to an office is something Scott is looking forward to, but there will be aspects of the classroom she will miss.
“The bonding you get when you spend nine months, five days a week, 50 minutes a day with the students, but I plan to be out there and get to know as many students as I can,” Scott said. “I know many of them, having taught them just a year before last, so there are many avenues that will lead me to learning more about the kids and that’s something I want to do.”
Scott said she feels she knows many of the parents of the students she will be in charge of this year because of her past classroom experience.
“Many of them are former students of mine,” Scott said. “I think most of them know I ran a pretty strict classroom and they know I want it safe. I want the school to be safe, I want the kids to be safe and I want the parents to feel like they are dropping their kids off at a safe school everyday. We want to do whatever is the safest for the kids and the staff as well.”
Schools in Clinton County will have first day classes on Tuesday, August 6.