September 21, 2011 - It's a dream job come true for Oxford Middle School Assistant Principal Carolyn Cregar.
|Cregar (click for larger version)|
Since coming to Oxford Community Schools in August 2004, Cregar's goal has been to get into the administrative side of the middle school. After previously applying twice, she was finally selected last month to fill the position, which was vacated by Dr. Glenda Williams, who returned to Texas.
"I feel very fortunate I could land this position in administration, which has been my goal in Oxford," Cregar said. I could not be happier or more proud to be part of Oxford Schools right now at this time."
Before joining OCS, Cregar worked in human resources and in the restaurant industry with her husband and his family. It wasn't until 2001 when she went back and received her certification in secondary education from Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU).
In 2007, she returned to SVSU and attained her Master's Degree in Administrative Leadership.
She also has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Albion College.
Cregar has spent the last seven years teaching United States History, a subject she admitted to always loving.
"Me degree in economics transferred very well into history...I had a lot of courses in that when I was doing my undergrad work," she said.
According to Cregar, the biggest challenge for her was trying to learn everything about the position in a short time.
"It's been a lot of hours trying to get acclimated, navigate my way through all the systems that I had to pick up because being hired so close to the beginning of the school year, there was a lot of stuff that needed to happen," she said.
The biggest difference between classroom teaching and administrative work for Cregar was the number of students she had to focus her attention on.
"Working in the classroom, you are focusing on one subject, one-sixth of the student population...in doing this, you are focusing on the big picture, the overall goals of the school, the overall culture of the school," she said. "So you are affecting every student, not just a small group of students."
Cregar added her main focus was helping OMS "seemlessly implement the MYP (middle years) program."
"I have had a lot of training in the MYP program, and that is probably our biggest initiative here and is probably our biggest focus to try and get that off the ground and to finish our application for certification and just really support teachers as much as possible and help them muddle their way through all the major changes in terms of education as much as possible," she said.
Cregar herself is International Baccalaureate certified in level one curriculum and level two assessment.
She said she learned quite a bit during the training sessions, but it wasn't until she came back and worked with other teachers on creating the IB unit planners everything started to click.
She added IB was not a "canned program."
"It's very individualized based on your building, and that is one thing that is very unique about IB," she said.
"It is not something they will just give you and say here is the way it works for your school," she added. "They insist you work it out. You have to customize it to your building...they require certain policies and certain elements."
Currently teachers and staff members are busy writing the policies for the IB units, which Creger thinks should be done by the time Thanksgiving comes around.
Before becoming assistant principal, Creger was on the humanities committee for the MYP.
Now she oversees all eight areas of the MYP - language a, language b, humanities, technology, mathematics, art, science and physical education. .
The big test comes in April, when members from the IB selection committee comes to visit OMS.
"At that point, we will have to have certain requirements that we have to have completed," she said. "That is going to be a huge job...a lot of it is going to fall on me and (Marion) Barran to make sure that happens."
In the IB, middle years ranges from sixth grade all the way up to tenth grade.
According to Cregar, coordinating time for teachers in those eight areas to work together on their unit planners has been the most challenging part of the IB process.
"It's an adjustment trying to find time to make that happen, which is why we are doing the late starts so we can work with the high school to make sure that is happening," she said.
However, she noted the school was farther along in the process than teachers and staff realized. "We are doing well and I feel comfortable where we are in the process," she said.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.