Meet the new Athens-Chilesburg Principal
BY JOHN WHITLOCK
Following in the footsteps of the first principal of Athens-Chilesburg Elementary could be a daunting challenge. But for new ACE principal Mark Rose, it will be a challenge he’ll meet with a smile.
“I got to meet her before I actually started,” Rose says, adding “She was so gracious, giving me tips and giving me all the stuff I needed to get started. They did a lot of the groundwork for the start of this coming year already for me. So it was great to get to meet her and kind of get the feel of the school before I started.”
Although he is still settling in, his collection of M&M memorabilia is in place. Many of the items are gifts from parents, students or teachers. He believes it makes a visit to the principal’s office a little less intimidating as prepares for the upcoming school year.
Rose has taught at three elementary schools and Clark Middle School during his 29 years in the Clark County School District.
He says, “One of the things that we want to look at seriously, of course, is that we’re implementing new standards this year, so we want to make sure that everybody is versed in standards and gets the training and the step they need for the new standards. But also we want to look at our writing policies.”
Rose said he sees himself as an instructional leader and that attitude will extend to all the faculty, staff and students.
“I’m a hands-on principal. I like to get out in the rooms. I like to learn the kids’ names. I like to find out things they like, things they want to do. It’s the same with the staff.”
Rose said communication with the faculty will be one of the hallmarks of his administration, and key to ACE’s ongoing success.
“We plan on doing a lot of, well, planning,” Rose said with a smile. “We’re going to do a team-planning Tuesday. We’re gonna do vertical planning where grades and work with grades above or below. Then one Tuesday, we’re going to meet with our team leaders. Then one Tuesday is going to be a full staff meeting, which is mostly delivering information.”
“All this is designed to get everyone on the same page,” Rose said. “It helps get all of us working for the same goal. This is a very high-performing school and we want to continue that, and even go higher.”
Getting to know everyone involved in Athen-Chilesburg Elementary is job one for the new principal.
“One of the things I like to do is to be visible in the building,” Rose said. “I like to be visible in the hallways in the mornings. I like to be visible for car/rider duty so that I can get to meet parents, get to learn their names, get to learn the students. I like to go into the art room when they’re in art. I like to go in the music room and see what they’re doing when they’re having music class, or I love to go in the cafeteria when they’re in there eating lunch and talk to them and sit down with them.”
Sharing time with the staff, faculty, and students is at the heart of what he considers his philosophy of education.
“I believe that all kids deserve an equal shot. I believe that we have to be caring. We have to be compassionate,” Rose said. “We have to work with all of our stakeholders, our community partners, with our parents with our staff. We have to be nurturing and we have to provide the best instruction in the classroom and all kids deserve that no matter what the background.”
Rose has a history of finding success in difficult situations. “I’m coming from (one former) school that was about 70 percent free and reduced lunch that we moved from 658 in the state. There are only 733 (districts). We were barely above the bottom. (After five years), we were 191.” He says they accomplished their goals “by building the rapport with the students and the staff, letting them know we care or letting them know that everybody’s going to get the same chance. You know, everybody deserves great things, rewards, and praise.”
He adds, “We worked hard, had a great staff, and honestly, we had great parents, parental support,” Rose said. They just needed someone to believe in them. That’s what I’m all about.”
With a new school opening and some redistricting in Fayette County, there will be plenty of changes for Athens-Chilesurg faculty and students going in the new year.
“There are awesome teachers here. Some were transferred to other schools,” Rose said. “So students might see some familiar faces, but they might not be teaching the same grade that they had been teaching. Hopefully, they’re going to just see a whole new group of welcoming and smiling and energetic and enthusiastic faces when they walk in the building.”
Rose hopes all the teachers will work to build a connection with the students.
“I expect teachers to greet students and to talk to students and to be visible,” Rose said. “I think we can start our day out that way. It makes the day so much better.”
This article also appears on page 12 of the August 2019 print edition of Hamburg Journal.
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