|Principal Greg Maughan stands next to the Warrior mascot displayed on a wall in the front foyer at Wellington Elementary School.|
People have migrated to Carbon County for all types of reasons.
Some people had ancestors who came to the local area because of the coal industry or the railroad. Others came to the county to work at the college or at a power plant.
But some people passing though the county decided to stay in the area, including Greg Maughan, the principal at Wellington Elementary.
I was teaching in Washington state and the superintendent of San Juan School District and I had been in touch about taking a job there, stated Maughan. So my wife and I came down to look at what they had. As we drove down Price Canyon and it opened up into Helper and the valley my wife said Why cant we find you a job someplace like this?
Maughan turned down the job in San Juan and went back to Washington, but a short time later his wife said that she had spotted an ad for an assistant principals job in Price.
So that is how we ended up here, because it is where we really wanted to be, he said.
Maughan graduated from Southern Utah University a number of years ago, after having spent his teenage years in the Bay area of California and in Washington state. For three years after graduation he spent his time teaching in a junior high in Davis School District and then took the job in Washington. Up until this past spring when he was assigned the principals job at Wellington Elementary, he had always dealt with secondary students and teachers.
Coming into this there is so much I dont know, he said. But the teachers here at Wellington have been awesome. They have already taught me so much about elementary education.
And for not having spent a day in the school with kids and all the teachers as of yet, he was still able to rattle off the names of his staff, including those who are new to the school. In kindergarten this year, Brenna Penry and Starla Pyper will be in charge. In first grade will be Carol Montoya, and Carol Flower as well as Dina Wise who is new to the school this year. In second grade he listed three new teachers to the school, Melody Anderson, Stacy Basinger and Diedre Judd. Third grade will have Carol Carlson and Holly Hall instructing the students.
In the fourth grade Karolyn Lewandowski and Diana Wood will be joined by Sharon Manchester.
In the fifth grade Gail Jewell and Mark Martinez, the only male teacher in the school, will give the students their lessons. In the sixth grade Melanie Huff and Joann Zwahlen will teach the oldest students.
I just cant believe how intense the teachers at this school are, he said. They are so dedicated and I am learning from them everyday.
That was evident as he was being interviewed in his office. As he answered questions for the Sun Advocate, teachers popped in and out asking questions and talking with him about the coming year.
And as with all elementary schools in the district this year, that intensity from teaching staffs will center on reading.
A reading grant that will go on for three years to raise the literacy level of the kids in the district is being implemented along with a new program of reading competency.
Because of that grant we will have a reading coach (Tami King) and an interventionist (Lee Averritt) who will help kids that are struggling, said Maughan.
Everyone has received some very intense training on the program so we expect it to bring some real results. The goal is to have every student reading at grade level by the third grade, and then to keep them at their grade level all the way through school, continued the principal.
Wellington Elementary will also be utilizing a grant for a similar program for fourth through sixth grade students in math. But there is even more to what will be going on than that.
One of the emphases of this year will be physical fitness, Maughan said smiling. Where I taught in Washington we had a lot of student health programs, things about living healthy lifestyles. These programs were actually student directed. That is what I want to see us do here, too.
But the key to success said Maughan is the parents involvement in these programs and helping the school staff from home.
The principal said reading truly is fundamental to all education and that parents must be involved in their kids reading situation.
What I would like to see is that when these kids go to Mont Harmon Junior High they are a notch above the average student both socially and academically, he said.
When asked what parents will be able to expect from him as the principal, Maughan had several definite answers to the question.
I plan on taking a real interest in peoples kids lives and their education, he said. And I will try to help them with their students that are struggling as much as possible.
Maughan also has pretty high expectations for himself.
I want to be in every classroom in this building, every day, he says. I need to be an instructional leader.
So the Warriors have a new principal, a number of new teachers and several new programs that the students will be experiencing during the upcoming school year.