Mont Harmon's principal says she chose the right profession
After years of watching students walk into the classroom and put forth hard work and determination to succeed, Carol Wells knew she chose the right profession in life.
Now entering her 27th year in education, Wells is still bringing that same excitement of helping students get excited about school and provide them with the skills as they move along through the education system.
Wells was recently named as the Principal for Mont Harmon Junior High after serving as the Vice Principal at the school for the last five years. During her nearly three decades of work in education, Wells has taught and worked in administration for local area schools including Petersen Elementary, East Carbon High School, Carbon High School, Bruin Point Elementary and Mont Harmon Junior High.
Raised in Helper, Wells has lived in Carbon County her entire life. At a young age, Wells said she just knew working in education was something she always envisioned doing.
"I had a desk downstairs at my home and I would pretend to be a teacher," Wells remembered. "I've always known I wanted to do this."
As she prepares to enter the 2011-12 school year as the principal at Mont Harmon Junior High, Wells' previous experiences have her ready for the challenges that lay ahead.
Wells first worked as an administrator at Carbon High School for eight years before moving around to Petersen Elementary and East Carbon High School where she spent a total of nine years working as a principal.
When both Petersen Elementary and East Carbon High School closed down, Wells was put into the position as Vice Principal at Mont Harmon. While it was a new job with new opportunities and different challenges for her to face, it still was very difficult to watch both the local elementary and high school close down.
Because of the small size of East Carbon High School, Wells said the school was not able to provide as many different classes for students compared to Carbon High School. Finally after 45 years of teaching students in East Carbon and Sunnyside, the school closed its doors in May 2005.
As a resident of East Carbon City herself, Wells said she knew the school closings would be difficult, but in the end it would be the best move for everyone.
"It was the right move [to close down the schools]," she explained. "But it was definitely hard for everyone involved."
From there, Wells moved onto Mont Harmon. But while she was in a new setting, the students who used to attend Petersen Elementary were now being enrolled at Mont Harmon. That helped make the transition of moving into a new position at a different school much easier, she said.
Working with students from seventh through ninth grades provides for an interesting experience, Wells said. After a long summer break, students arrive back at Mont Harmon to begin another year of school. While the first few days of school can be difficult for students to get readjusted to the schedule and the rigors of completing homework assignments, for the faculty and staff there is a lot of work to be done. Especially with over 550 students, there are a lot of faces that need to be put with names.
"I know the students' faces and then later I'll start putting names to them," Wells said.
Wells, who is taking over the position of principal from Bruce Bean who left for the same position at Carbon High School, said she won't need to change much with how the school is working. For that she credits the faculty and staff at Mont Harmon who are excited and ready for the new school year to begin.
"While we can always improve things, we really have a great group of teachers and I think we just need to continue the good extracurricular programs we have here at Mont Harmon," she said.
One of the biggest things students must adjust to when they begin at Mont Harmon is working with teachers who each focus on one subject. Instead of being in the same classroom all day long, students shuffle between classrooms for each subject on their schedule. While it is a change the students must deal with, Wells said students are able to adjust to the new schedule pretty quickly.
"We want to make sure that every student feels welcome here and that they are comfortable with their surroundings," she said.
Wells, like her predecessor Bruce Bean, wants to be out among the students and teachers at the school. The importance of education in a student's life cannot be understated and at Mont Harmon the teachers strive to make education fun, Wells said.
"I want to have the students' education be successful and fun at the same time," she stated. "Education can lead to success in life and I want that to be an important part of every student who goes to school here."
One new addition for Mont Harmon this year is the new school bus turnaround. Instead of being dropped off far from the doors to the school, students will now be dropped off right near the entrance. While there will be a transition period for parents looking to drop off their kids for school, Wells said the transition should go smoothly for everyone.
As the students begin crowding the hallways of Mont Harmon, reminiscing with friends about their summer vacation and being back at school, Wells said the first day is always an exciting event and serves as a reminder as to why she loves her line of work.
"I still get very anxious for the first day of school," she admitted. "But I'm always excited as well."