EATON — This year, Hollingsworth East Elementary has a new principal in Teresa Woodin. Since starting her position this past July, Woodin has had the opportunity to interact with students, help implement necessary changes, and learn more about the Eaton community.
Prior to this position, Woodin had taken time away from education due to a family emergency. She knew she wanted to return to education, but once she applied for the position at Hollingsworth East Elementary, the dedication of the staff sold her on Eaton Community Schools.
“I had been in education for a long time and I took a few years off, because my mom had cancer. I took care of her, until she passed away. I knew after my mom passed away that I would return to education. When I saw the positing for this position, I love pre-school, kindergarten, first, and second grade. With the experiences I’ve had, I thought it would be a good fit,” she said.
“When I came to interview, I knew without a doubt the staff here genuinely cared about students. That was apparent in the interview. On my way home, I called my husband and said, ‘I really hope I get this position, because I can tell the staff genuinely care about students and I want to work with people like that.’”
Woodin is married with two sons; one is a freshmen in college and the other is a junior at Talawanda High School. She has been married for 24 years. She grew up in Darke County, where her brothers are still located. She currently lives outside of Oxford with her family.
She has been in education for a long time. She has taught all types of education, including special education. She eventually became an assistant principal and has since been principal of an elementary school and middle school. This will be her second elementary principal position.
Due to her husband’s profession, she has moved a lot. She has worked in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio. This has given her an opportunity to see different ways to be an effective administrator.
“I’m thrilled to be here at East and I love the kindergarten, first, and second graders,” she said.
Being in her first year as principal at Hollingsworth East Elementary, she has learned a lot so far. She has been impressed with the staff and their dedication to the students. She also takes pains to know every one of her students by name, which is a work in progress with 500 students. She credits other administrators for their help thus far this year.
Normally, she would have spent her first year simply observing, before making any changes. However, she asked her staff if they would like to see a change in the master schedule and they voted in the affirmative.
“Never in the time I’ve been a principal have I ever changed the master schedule the first year. I’m a big believer in, you go in, observe, get to know people and what’s important to them, and then you may make some collaborative changes. We decided, as a building, to implement the master schedule,” Woodin said.
“I sent out a survey to the staff and [gave them another option] that would provide a couple additional things for us, but it wasn’t my decision, I asked the staff if they would like to change the master schedule. Sixteen responded and 16 said yes – nobody said no. We changed the master schedule. One of the reasons was to have the grade level teachers to have common plan time, so all eight kindergarten teachers could meet at the same time and do their planning, or any type of professional development.
“The second part of changing the schedule was to add a block of time for the newly adopted Social/Emotional Learning Standards the State has adopted as of June of this year. They are expecting schools to teach from those Social/Emotional Learning Standards. We created a block of time for [Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade] that is 45 minutes long. The teachers meet and do their common plan time and the students during that time go to special teachers and some other staff members, where they are being taught about those Social/Emotional Learning Standards.
“We call it our Kindness Clubs. The students are learning: how to I show kindness, how do I handle conflict, what do I do when somebody says something that is unkind to me, how do I respond back – all of those life skills that are really important, every child in every grade level is getting that 45 minutes every week. Those were the two reasons we changed the schedule.”
Ultimately, Woodin wants parents to know they genuinely do care about students at Hollingsworth East Elementary. She also encourages them to be involved and to “join” the Hollingsworth East family while their kids are in the building.
“It is important that every child feels safe and supported here. We would love for students to be involved, whether it be through the PTO or attending parent teacher conferences – there are multiple ways for them to be involved. If they have the time, we would love for them to be a part of the East family while their children are here,” she said.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH