There's a new face at Cecil Sly Elementary School this year. Ruth Wick is the new principal at the facility, the only new administrator to be added to the district.
>The new principal at Cecil Sly is eager to introduce herself to her students and get to know them by name
Arriving in Crook County only about three weeks ago from McMinnville, the principal's office already has that settled-in look, sporting stuffed critters and cheery pictures amidst the usual files, folders, graphs and charts. Wick says elementary education is a most rewarding career, and something not to be taken lightly.
"Elementary education is the most important aspect of education because it's the foundation we build on all the way through the child's education," Wick explained. "The attitudes and ideas students develop in elementary school stay with them through their entire school career."
With more than 30 years of experience in three different districts in Oregon, Wick has a solid background both as teacher and principal. "Ruth has more than 12 years in the David Douglas District, so she comes to us with excellent experience and credentials," said district superintendent Gary Peterson.
Most recently Wick was involved in writing grants and facilitated professional development for the Educational Service District in Yamhill County.
Reflecting on the importance of a sound elementary education in the long range picture of a child's development, Wick indicated her focus will be on increasing the student reading and math achievement standards to meet State benchmarks.
"Reading is fundamental to all other areas of learning. That's why it's a primary focus. The staff received a grant for reading from the State which we will be implementing this year," she explained. "We will also continue with many practices that were started last year."
Cecil Sly, along with other area schools will continue to work with the S.M.A.R.T. (Start Making a Reader Today) volunteer programs as well as implementing and continuing classroom programs to help get students off on the right track.
Wick emphasizes the importance the role of teacher can play in a person's life. She reflected on her own career having been influenced by teachers, not the least of which were her own parents both of whom were educators.
"In high school I had an English teacher who brought out the best in her students," she said. "She celebrated every success of her students in a way that I'll always fondly remember."
Emulating this same desire to have a positive influence on children, Wick said the rewards of connecting with children, and helping to steer them in the right direction, is what makes being a principal so much fun.
"This is a very rewarding career," she said. "We're in the business of developing people and that's where the rewards are."