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Campus Connection - Elementary School Leadership

Article Date: 
9 September, 2011 (All day)

The Morgan School District is fortunate to have outstanding administrators serving in each of our schools.   Their responsibilities can be overwhelming at times, but each works through the challenges and opportunities with an aura of professionalism. This week I would like to spotlight our outstanding elementary principals; Tom McFarland and Tim Wolff.
Tom McFarland graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Biology and a Master’s degree in Education. He earned his Administrative Endorsement from Idaho State University and has updated his certification through Brigham Young University.
He is a seasoned educator with vast experience in elementary and middle school environments.  He has been a third, seventh, eighth, and ninth grade teacher.  He has served as a middle school assistant principal in Madison Middle School in Rexburg, Idaho, Morgan Middle School Principal and he presently serves as the Mountain Green Elementary School Principal.
He has been instrumental in creating a steady and innovative climate in each of these schools.  He is a curriculum specialist and serves as a resource within the district regarding implementation of effective reading programs. He serves as a mentor to our new administrators and his wisdom and foresight certainly helps set direction for the district.
Tim Wolff graduated from Weber State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.  He earned a Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Houston.
He is an energetic young man who began his career as an elementary teacher in Texas from 2001 to 2007. He served as an elementary school principal in Texas from 2007 to 2010.  He was chosen as the Morgan Elementary School Principal in July of 2010.
His experience in the inner-city schools of Texas has allowed him to appreciate the uniqueness of the Morgan School District.  Some of the challenges he faced in those schools have given our system insight into innovative and up-to-date learning and instructional methodologies.  He is not afraid of change and is willing to move forward with ideas and programs that enhance student learning and success.
These two leaders collaborate often and work together on a number of projects.  The recent decision by the Board of Education to provide school breakfast for Morgan Elementary students was encouraged and supported by these men.  
The school breakfast program is new to the district, but not new to the State of Utah or the nation. It has been in existence for a number of years and has shown to be an effective tool in increasing the learning efficiency of some students.  The objective is to allow students the opportunity to eat a nutritious meal at the beginning of each school day that otherwise may not have the opportunity to start the day with a full stomach.  
In our district there are students who benefit from the program.  Parent(s) are struggling to meet their financial obligations and have been hard hit by the continued economic turn-down.  Having the option of allowing their children to participate in the breakfast program helps the child and the family.
Principal Wolff has been tracking the usage for two weeks.  On the average, approximately 44 students enjoy the benefits of the meal on a daily basis.  Grateful parents have expressed appreciation to the Board and principal, sometimes in tears.  It is making a positive difference in the lives of children.
The Board will continue the program at Morgan Elementary School for the balance of the school year.  In June they will review its value and make a determination on whether or not to continue the service, or expand the service to other schools within the district.
Principals McFarland and Wolff are also working closely with the transportation department on a strategy to better inform parents of bus routes prior to the beginning of the school year.  Changes in housing arrangements and the exact number of students enrolling each year is often an unknown until the end of the first or second week of school.  It is especially difficult knowing the numbers and locations of kindergarten students.
The new GPS tracking system on our buses should help.  We will now be able to chart maps and pick up and drop off locations in a timely manner.  It will not provide exact locations until the drivers actually see who and how many students will be taking advantage of the busing system, but it should significantly reduce the time before parents are notified once school begins.
Morgan School District appreciates the leadership of our elementary principals.  They are always open and willing to assist the students and parents.  Please feel free to contact them with both your recommendations and commendations.