October 25, 2014

New principal gets ready for upcoming school year

Corbin H. Crable
chcrable@gardnernews.com
Although USD 231 students may not be ready to go back to school just yet, there’s at least one person who’s ready and waiting for their return – the new principal at Edgerton Elementary.
Principal Nancy Woolery has been hard at work this summer making the transition from school counselor to her current position. Woolery, who has worked at the school for 15 years, replaces Sharon Buffington, the school’s longtime principal who retired this month. Woolery took over as principal on July 14.
New and returning students alike will have the chance to meet Woolery at an open enrollment period for the school. That will take place at all USD 231 schools from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 22. Aug. 12 is the first day of classes for the school district.
“I’ve just been delving into the administrative aspects of the job and familiarizing myself with the budget,” Woolery said. “We had to hire a new counselor and a new computer teacher and a new long-term (substitute teacher), as one of our teachers had a baby this summer.”
Woolery said she plans to be at the open enrollment period all day on July 22, but she’s looking forward to interacting with the students and their parents.
“I am anxious and excited anticipating enrollment on Thursday,” she said. “That’s going to be a fun day, meeting new kids in a new position. Our district has been phenomenal welcoming me into this position, and the other teachers have been great with support and guidance.”
Woolery said that her work with Buffington has helped prepare her for her new role as principal, and that she isn’t looking to make any major changes to the school during the upcoming year.
“They are definitely big shoes to fill. I feel like (Buffington) has been grooming me for this position. We talk daily, and she’s not only my principal, she’s one of my best friends,” Woolery said. “And being a transitioning year, it’s important you don’t make a lot of changes. This school has been very successful, and I want to continue that success the school has seen. There will be some changes, but there will be decisions that are made as a team.”
Woolery said that’s appropriate for the 2010-11 school year, since Edgerton Elementary’s new theme will be – what else? – teamwork.
“We all know that everyone working together leads to more success than people individually doing things,” she noted.
Woolery said much has changed since she began working at the school in the mid-1990s.
“When I started, there were two elementary schools and one middle school,” she recalled. “Now, the reputation of the school district as a whole has become more widely known across the state. It used to be the Big Three (school districts) – Shawnee Mission, Olathe and Blue Valley. And we’re approaching that (recognition) because we’re growing as fast as they’ve grown. So soon we may be the Big Four.”
Woolery added that the Edgerton Elementary building itself has seen plenty of change since she began working there.
“When I came into this building 15 years ago, it was pretty old looking, and it had really low ceilings,” she said. “The district is amazing at how well they keep up their buildings and continually renovating them and keeping up with the times. Our little school has been renovated a couple of times since I started, and it’s clean and very well-kept.”
But it’s the kids who walk through those doors every day that are Woolery’s main concern – and she can’t wait to see both old and new faces when the first school bell rings on Aug. 12.
“I’m looking forward to seeing those students walk into the building with excitement and anticipation on their faces,” she said. “It’s kind of like Christmas – you look forward to it, and when it’s here, it’s pretty exciting.”
For more information on the July 22 walk-in enrollment period, visit www.usd231.com or call 856-2000.

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