By: Melanie Williamson
At the end of the 2016-2017 school year, Sailorway Middle School Principal Brian Zeller announced to parents and students at the Sailor Salute night that he was leaving Sailorway to take a position in another district. He gave a heartfelt goodbye as he shared what he loved about Sailorway and what he would miss.
At the Monday, June 26, meeting, the school board members voted to approve the hiring of Beth Bartlome to be the new principal at Sailorway Middle School. Bartlome had been the assistant principal at Sailorway leading up to this.
When asked, Bartlome expressed her excitement over the new position, sharing that she had worked closely with principal Zeller and feels her moving into the position of principal was a logical transition.
She also shared that she is excited to continue to grow many of the programs she worked with principal Zeller on including the Project MORE mentorship program and the Watch DOGS. With that in mind, she emphasized her continued goal to encourage community involvement within the school through volunteers and programs such as those.
In addition to programs involving the community, she plans to continue all the clubs currently offered including the drama club, sewing club, and recently added eco club. While discussing this, she explained that the eco club has been a great addition because it allows the students to really take ownership of what they are doing and their role within the community. This club in particularly is student run. With the help of staff, they collect all unopened food left over after lunch and make weekly donations to Grace’s Kitchen.
Bartlome also stated that they will be starting a new newspaper and video newsletter class for 7th graders. This will increase writing, which is a district goal, as students will create and distribute a school paper every other week. They will also take over the creation of the video newsletters that principal Zeller created and released last year.
Overall, Bartlome shared, “I feel really positive about being able to use my skills and knowledge to excel Sailorway, which is so good already. Principal Zeller prepared me so well, he was so generous and such a good role model…I feel very positive about the whole thing.”
During the Monday, June 26, school board meeting superintendent Phil Pempin shared that they were currently interviewing applications to fill the now open assistant principal position. However, he shared that the job was posted for either an assistant principal or a dean of students. Pempin stated they did it this way to provide themselves more options, and a decision regarding the position would be determined as they decide on the best candidate.
When asked about the possibility of having a dean of students, opposed to an assistant principal, Bartlome shared that although she understands the option was presented to ensure they get the best possible candidates, she feels it is important to have an assistant principal. She went on to explain that having someone with the administrative training and mindset is essential to keeping a focus on budget, community, scheduling, evaluations and more. An assistant principal would also be able to do more as a dean of students would be limited in their control over how things are handled.
Candidates are currently being interviewed for the assistant principal or dean of students position, and an announcement will be made once a decision is made.