Fairland welcomes pair of new principals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2006

PROCTORVILLE — This school year will see a number of different changes in the Fairland school district, as two new principals will take over at the elementary and high schools.

The high school is welcoming Roni Hayes as its new principal. She replaces David Judd, who resigned after more than three decades working in the system. Hayes, a graduate of Fairland, is a former teacher and administrative assistant.

Hayes said she is excited about the school year and is hoping to keep up the tradition of hard work and academic success that the school is known for.

Email newsletter signup

Changes came this school year at the elementary level, as well.

For the first time, the East and West elementary schools have separate principals. East, K to 2nd grades, has Peggy Keeney as its new principal, while West, 3rd-5th grades, will be under the direction of Teresa Johnson, who served as principal of both schools last year.

Johnson said three years ago when the schools split into two buildings, Keeney, who served as Johnson’s assistant, said she wanted to be principal at East.

So, since then, the two have been working together to make that a reality.

“What we wanted was continuity among all the grades. We wanted them to have a good foundation and lay the groundwork for a successful career through the 12th grade,” Johnson said. “I started mentoring her (Keeney) to take the position and it has worked out wonderful so far.”

Keeney has been in the district for nearly two decades as both an assistant principal and a speech and language teacher.

Johnson said having principals that have worked closely together is an ideal situation for the 900 students in the two buildings. But, she said she will miss her youngest students.

“I guess it is going to be hard. You get used to seeing the students and they depend on you day-to-day. They grow up with you, I guess you could say,” she said.

She said the first day of school, Friday went extremely smooth and she hopes that will continue. There need to be a few things “fine tuned,” she said, but the buildings are adjusting to the two-principal system.

“We are working together to ensure that the kids get the continuity they need,” Johnson said.

The middle school may still be under the direction of the same principal, Mike Whitley, who has been at the school for 10 years.

He said the school will continue to focus on bringing up their test scores. But, this year, there will be a number of changes implemented statewide that will dramatically change the preparation for the tests.

For the first time, tests will be given the last week of April and the first week of May, in the past, tests were given the first week of March. Also, there will be more tests added in addition to the traditional reading and math. New tests will include writing for the seventh grade and science and social studies for the eighth grades.

“It is going to present challenges. But, we are hoping to have everything covered,” Whitley said. “We are gaining some time to prepare, but we are also dealing with spring break during that time and it will daylight savings time. Sports will be starting, too.”

During the most recent statewide report cards issued by the Ohio Department of Education, the district’s high and middle schools were rated “effective,” while the elementary school was rated “excellent.”