Changes for the New School Year
This time of year always brings about future change. I spend my time in January and February determining the direction for the following August. Life changes occur, new opportunities arise, and strategic plans play out - these are the catalysts for this change. My end goal is what is best for everyone - the employees, the school, and especially, the students.
With ads currently being posted, I want to share what I know, so you are kept informed of changes for next year. Although bittersweet, I am excited about the new opportunities that come with these changes.
- Claudia Feaster was one of the first people I met 12 years ago. She was a parent who welcomed me to Oakhill with open arms. My admiration for her has grown throughout the years, and I am sad to see her leave us but happy for her as she chooses a new path. Claudia will exit her positions as media center coordinator and alumni relations at the end of the school year. She is at a fork in the road, and she will go to work with her husband, Brad. This change will give her more flexibility as both of her sons will be in college next fall. I wish Claudia the very best, and she will have left her mark on Oakhill.
- Maria Zdvorak will be switching gears and, she is excited about what lies ahead. When the Pre-Toddler (18-month-old) opening came about, Maria jumped at the opportunity. She has taught at Oakhill for ten years in the Early Learner classroom, Prekindergarten classroom, and Early Childhood and Lower School Library. Maria is the perfect fit for this age group, and when I asked her why, here is what she said. "As a mother of three, I can honestly say the toddler years were some of my favorite. I love everything about this age - their honesty, unconditional love, curiosity, and desire to learn everything possible about the world around them." Maria works with this age each summer, and now she will work with our smallest learners year round. With both Claudia and Maria leaving their positions, I have posted an ad looking for the right person to take over the library programs integrating more with technology for the fall. I will also be searching for the right person to take over alumni relations.
- Enrollment is strong from Prekindergarten to Kindergarten this year, and to accommodate the numbers; we are adding back a third Kindergarten classroom. Laura Pearce is heading from 2nd grade to Kindergarten for next fall. Laura could teach any grade level but feels there is a calling for her to move to this age group. Laura said, "I am excited to work with the kindergarten age and help them grow." Although we will miss Laura in 2nd grade, she and Kristin Forsen will be involved in finding the right replacement for her in the 2nd-grade position. We have some incredible candidates, and I am excited to share this news when it becomes available.
- We are so lucky that we found Rachel Panko for 3rd grade this year; she is an incredible teacher and a perfect fit for the Oakhill community. With Baby Panko arriving this summer, Rachel has decided to move to a part-time position for next year. Rachel will be joining the Early Childhood team, and she will teach two-day Preschool this fall while Ms. Ferris and Ms. Trager teach three-day and 5-day Preschool. Rachel says she is "very excited to teach preschool and to bring my love and excitement for learning to the little ones at Oakhill!" Anyone who knows Rachel recognizes her passion and talent for teaching.
- Susan Brown will be retiring from teaching this year. I have known Susan my entire teaching career (she and I were teachers together at Barstow many years ago). Every student and parent has benefited from having Mrs. Brown in their lives; she is a professional, a passionate educator, and she appreciates every child. I will miss her dearly...Oakhill will miss her! Susan is excited about the next chapter in her life; she and her husband are finishing their retirement cabin, fulfilling a dream to live on a working farm, and look forward to traveling the world and spending more time with their grandkids!
- In light of the job share in one of the 3rd-grade classrooms, Kayla Mackey is not ready to return in a full-time capacity. She is thankful for her seven years at Oakhill, and she has greatly enjoyed her time. She says, "Now that we have added a third child, I am stepping away from teaching for a season to stay home with my kids. It is difficult to leave, as Oakhill feels like home, but I am also excited for the extra focus I can have on my family." Kayla is one of those teachers that I want back when she is ready to come back! She is a gifted teacher and an asset to Oakhill. We wish her the best next year as her focus shifts to her family.
- With two 3rd grade openings, I want to fill one of the classrooms with experience and greatness; I asked Elaine Scheidecker to move from her middle school math position to 3rd grade. Elaine always wants what is best for the school and the students; therefore, she accepted and is very excited about the move for next year. Elaine has spent the better part of 30 years in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades; she knows this age well, and she is a master of the content. Elaine says, "teaching is a passion, and I am lucky to spend my day with 8 and 9-year-old students. I love having my own classroom, and I love making connections with my students and families. When you get to know a student and family well, it is fulfilling to be a part of celebrating their success." Elaine taught 4th grade at Oakhill for many years, and she knows how to prepare our 3rd graders for success!
- I am also happy to share that Alex Hall will be returning to Oakhill to teach 5th and 6th-grade math. I am excited to have Alex back in the middle school mix; he has so much to offer the students, families, and program. I have always believed Alex has what it takes to go far in an independent school; he recognizes the importance of relationships and has high expectations for himself and his students. Alex says, "I am excited to come back home to the Oakhill family and to be immersed back in the culture of the school. I've missed the energy and excitement Oakhill has to offer, and I am eager to jump back in to share my passion for math with each of my students."
We will also be posting an ad for a bookstore manager - someone to oversee, manage, and run the campus spirit shops and bookstores. All ad posts are on our website.
As always, if you have questions, please let me know. I am happy to answer any questions! It is better to ask than wonder. Please trust that we will find the right people for the right positions. I promise you that the students are our priority, and there is always a vision we are working toward achieving.