The replacement for Pat Hittle, the current Dean of Students at Watertown-Mayer Elementary School who recently announced her plans to retire at the end of the school year, will be Marnie Pauly, the current principal at Watertown-Mayer Primary School. The transfer was discussed and approved with a 6-1 vote by the Watertown-Mayer School Board during its regular meeting held on Monday, Feb. 24.
Pauly, whose career in education spans 11 years, got her start teaching multiple grades at Milestones Charter School in Phoenix, Ariz., starting in 2003. After arriving at Watertown-Mayer in 2007, she served as a fifth grade teacher for one year before becoming a Reading Specialist for the next six years. After that, Pauly added Dean of Students to her responsibilities and has been the primary school principal since May 2013.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from UW – Eau Claire in 2001 and a Masters in Education from the University of Phoenix in 2004. She received her Reading Specialist Licensure from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis in 2007 and her K-12 Principal Licensure from Mankato State University in 2013.
Pauly is excited to assume the role of principal at Watertown-Mayer Elementary School this summer, although she said leaving the primary school is bittersweet because its staff, students and families are outstanding.
“They create a positive atmosphere where students get their first taste of school and grow to love it,” Pauly said. “I have been very fortunate to work with such a talented, caring, and supportive staff.”
Having worked closely with Hittle, Pauly hopes to build off of the successes that Hittle has created.
“I intend to build a bridge between achievement and ‘soft skills’ such as student relationships, collaboration, communication, and creativity,” she said. “I would like to ensure a positive school climate and learning environment which maximizes individual potential for every student.”
The board considered two options for filling the elementary school principal position. One was to hold an open interview process and the other was to transfer Pauly from the primary school to the elementary school. Before the board voted, Pauly was asked to address the board to express her interest and qualifications.
One of the first things she told the board was the following quote by Ignado Estrada: “If a student can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” The quote sums up Pauly’s commitment to education, which she described as her passion.
“When I decided to make the change from teacher to Reading Specialist, I was nervous about leaving the classroom,” she admitted. “I enjoyed the close relationship and helping each student grow. However, the opportunity to have an impact on student learning for not just one classroom, but a building is what I love.
“Now as a building principal, I have the opportunity to have a large scale impact on student and teacher growth,” Pauly continued. “In this role, I also am also fortunate enough to help make education a positive experience for families and foster relationships with students, staff, and parents.”
Pauly also shared several vision statements she has for the elementary school with the board. They are:
• To build a bridge between achievement and “soft skills” such as student relationships, collaboration, communication and creativity.
• To develop, school-wide, a higher level of problem based curriculum similar to what we are seeing in the mixed age classrooms.
• To ensure a very positive school climate and learning environment, with a technological orientation across the whole curriculum, which maximizes individual potential for every student.
• To provide, in partnership with parents and the leadership team, the implementation of current and future district initiatives.
Pauly will begin her tenure as the elementary school principal on July 1, 2014.
Before the board approved the transfer, it held a discussion that examined the merits of promoting employees from within as well as the benefits of hiring workers from outside of an organization. Superintendent Dave Marlette offered his feedback that Pauly would make an excellent candidate for the elementary school principal position, based on the effectiveness of her leadership at the primary school.
Director Jennifer Janikula cast the lone vote against transferring Pauly from the primary school. She made it clear that she held nothing personal against Pauly but rather she felt the opportunity to see what candidates could be attracted to the position through an open interview process was one the district shouldn’t pass up.
On a related note, the board approved changing the status of the primary school principal position to that of a dean of students position. An open interview process, seeking candidates both in-house and from outside of the district, will be used to fill the position in the coming months.
Contact Todd Moen at [email protected]