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OHS welcomes new asst. principal: Todd Dunckley

Dunckley (click for larger version)
September 08, 2010 - Parents and students who step into the front office at Oxford High School might get greeted with a handshake and a smile by an unfamiliar face.

Don't worry, it is Assistant Principal Todd Dunckley trying to meet everyone in his new family, as he calls it.

The Board of Education hired Dunckley this summer to become the new Assistant Principal at Oxford High School, a role that he embraces with much excitement and enthusiasm.

"If stars lined up and possibilities are beyond what we can comprehend, this could not have been a more perfect moment for my life for what I believe in, what I believe my skills and experience have to offer and to match what was here," Dunckley said.

"I cannot be more excited to be a part of where we are going," he added.

As part of his duties as assistant principal, he will be overseeing ninth grade discipline, special education, 504 accommodations and a variety of other things.

"It's a rarity to have someone come into an assistant principal job with the amount of years of experience that I've had," he said.

"I think I bring a positive, friendly experience to the table," he added.

He added that he was driven for the students and communities best needs and interests.

"I bring a real sound work ethic and I think I bring a real sound community is not just about the kids and it is not just about the community. It is about all of us making it work together," he said.

Dunckley comes to Oxford from the Lake Orion School District, where he worked as an administrator for the last decade. He was the principal at Lake Orion High School for nine years before becoming an assistant principal/athletic director at Oakview Middle School in Lake Orion.

Dunckley said that he poured his heart and soul into what he felt was best for the students and the community during his tenure at Lake Orion.

"I started some pretty sound programs and measures for's the only place that my intermediate family has gone to school," he said.

Dunckley admitted that he kept on eye on Oxford for the last couple of years because he was intrigued at the ideas and programs that were being started.

"There are so many schools doing that and with it being right in my backyard from where I live and already was working, it was very noticeable because a lot of the measures being taken and some of the practices being looked at are like the best research on the planet right now," he said. "There are a lot of schools that can't coordinate that, especially in this economy."

Dunckley calls the direction of the school district "fabulous" and hopes he can bring some new thoughts and ideas to keep the district moving forward.

"I have some different ideas to bounce off what happened in the other district. We are all dealing with the same issues, we just do them with different angles," he said.

"So I am bringing some of the other angles," he added.

Dunckley will also be the Director of the Oxford International Residency Academy, which was explained to him when he was hired as the assistant principal.

"They both came up on the same hire and that was part of the agreement," Dunckley explained.

He will be in charge of promoting the program internationally, making presentations and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the program.

According to Dunckley, the toughest part of being the director will be the day-to-day operational side of the academy.

"Once they are here, I have to make sure of the safety and well being of all those students from the physical housing itself, the food, their emotional well being, that there are folks well trained in the building and on the grounds, transportation and any families they are going to visit or spending weekends with, I have to clear and check them," he said.

He added that he will not only be in charge of marketing the program to Chinese students, but to the rest of the world as well.

"Making those initial contacts and presentations is the work," he explained. "That entails that we SKYPE, phone calls and I am going to be sending letters to students and parents that I know are interested for next year."

Although he officially began on July 1, he went over the China on June 19 on his own so he could learn more about China and the culture before officially heading over there to recruit students for the International Academy.

One thing that Dunckley made clear was that he is now part of the Wildcat family.

"Honestly, you spend 10 years building up a program and you bleed that color of the school, but this is my family now," he said. "I gave all my green away and I bleed blue now and I will do everything for them."

His first test of loyalty came when he went to the Oxford/Lake Orion football game on Aug. 27 because his three children still attend school in Lake Orion.

"I had cleared that with my conscience...I walked over to the other side of that field wearing blue and looked at my new family and said here I am," Dunckley said.

He added that the families and students he knew understood his position and came over and shook his hand. However, he was more concerned about what the Oxford students he didn't have a chance to meet would think.

"The last thing I wanted them to see was somebody in a blue jersey walking over and looking like they were closer with the green side," he said. "I am a Wildcat."

On a personal level, Dunckley currently lives in Lake Orion with his wife of 14 years, Lorra, and three children, Phillip (13), Madeleine (11) and Sawyer (7).

He has a Masters Degree in School Administration from Central Michigan University and a Bachelors Degree in Education from Eastern Michigan.

He served in the Army for a few years while in college and is still in the National Guard. "I hope that when it is all said and done that people say that was good for the kids," Dunckley said.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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