New school administration promises transparency
Under new leadership, the Newcastle Public School administration has promised transparency and communication with the community.
After the resignation of former Superintendent Tony O’Brien last June, the Newcastle Public Schools Board of Education began the search for a new leader. After an extensive, months long search, the board voted unanimously to hire Duncan Superintendent Melonie Hau as the district’s new superintendent. Hau officially began her tenure at Newcastle July 1.
“Newcastle has an outstanding reputation and tradition as a district and community that value public education and teachers,” she said. “I look forward to listening; getting to know the students, staff, families and community members; and working together to set bold goals for our students,” Hau said.
Hau began her education career as a junior high English teacher in Guthrie. She went on to teach in Putnam City and Deer Creek; served as student support coordinator, assistant high school principal and freshman academy principal at Deer Creek; and served as director of curriculum and school improvement and assistant superintendent of secondary education in Enid. She became Duncan superintendent in 2015.
Hau holds bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and has also nearing completion of a doctorate in education leadership at the University of Oklahoma.
Last June, Former ECC principal Kristi Ferguson was named as acting superintendent while the board interviewed and searched for a new superintendent.
Ferguson will stay on with the new administration in a newly created position, Assistant Superintendent. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Landes remains as Chief Financial Officer /Chief Operating Officer. Together Hau, Ferguson and Landes will serve as the new administration for the Newcastle school district.
Unlike previous administrations, the team a Hau-Ferguson-Landes promises to welcome community feedback.
Starting this fall, the district will present the Strategic Planning Process to the community. This process offers community forums for parents, community members, business partners, students, teachers, staff, seeking feedback on what they would like the see the district do in the future.
“I am committed to open dialogue, transparency, clear communication. I think it’s important for parents to know how the district is working for the children.”
Newcastle Superintendent Melonie Hau
“I am committed to open dialogue, transparency, clear communication. I think it’s important for parents to know how the district is working for the children,” Hau said.
Professional Learning Communities will be a new venture taken on by NPS as well. PLC essentially provides various ways and methods for teachers to collaborate in teams to individualize learning for students.
“We want to provide individualized instruction for students as much as we can. We’re growing. We are working on making sure our teachers are trained to work in teams to monitor student progress,” Hau said.
According to Hau, several schools across the country use the model and have been very successful. Newcastle teachers will receive a full day of prpofessional development to acclimate to the model next week.
With the first day of school next Thursday, the buzz around the administrarion seems to be postitive in tone. Putting the audit behind them, the new crew is ready to take on whatever challenges the mew year may bring.
“I want to convey that I am excited to be here! The district has a lot of positive practices in place. Financially and security wise. We have excellent teachers and I have heard over and over that one of our biggest assets is our students and families. I ambling forward to working with them, Hau said.