The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 20, 2008

Interim Principal Jim Halliday says goodbye to the Carlisle School

Jim Halliday is wrapping up his year as interim middle school principal at the Carlisle School.

Interim Principal Jim Halliday (Photo by Marilyn Cugini)

Newly hired Joyce Mehaffey will take over in July. The Mosquito recently asked Halliday to reflect on his year in Carlisle.

Q. How has your experience been with the Carlisle School?

A. My year at Carlisle has been excellent. It has been very busy as a result of the teachers planning and implementing so many interesting and challenging experiences for the students. I wanted to show my support for all that the teachers and students do by being as visible as possible and by attending as many of the activities that I could work into my schedule whether that was in the classroom, the gymnasium, the athletic fields or the auditorium. I have been impressed by the number of students who are involved in several extracurricular activities. Similarly, I have been impressed by the community support given to the school system and by the daily hands-on support provided by the parents in addition to the tremendous financial support provided by the parents. It has been an enjoyable and rewarding year for me.

Q. What changes, if any, did you make or see during your year?

A. I did not plan to come on board for one year to make significant changes in an already successful program. My goal as an interim principal was and is to work with the staff in implementing and/or fine-tuning the existing programs as the staff deems necessary. I felt that it was important for me to let the staff and the students know that I was in Carlisle for one year to focus on any areas that they felt they wanted to work on and to let them know that I was in Carlisle to support them in achieving their goals and in having a successful, enjoyable school year. Obviously, as the administrator, my responsibilities included ensuring a smooth operating school that functioned effectively on a daily basis in a safe and supportive environment. It was important that we maintained the Carlisle culture where all decisions are made on what is best for the education of all of the students.

Q. How would you describe the Carlisle School to a stranger?

A. When I think about the Carlisle School these points quickly come to mind:

• It is a fascinating place with K-8 all housed in the same area where all age level students share the dining facility, music areas, gymnasium, exercise room, playfields, the plaza recess area, and the auditorium. I especially enjoyed the grade 8 reading buddy program with the first grade students.

• How bright and how motivated most of the students are. The students come to school knowing that how they do in school this year will have an impact on the succeeding school years. The students all know that they are expected to attend college and they all have that mindset.

• The staff is creative, hard working, dedicated, intelligent, and always striving to improve their interaction and presentations to their students.

• The parents are a wonderful resource for the school, for the teachers and for the students, and I see the three elements working effectively together.

• The music programs are outstanding and meet the needs of a large percentage of the student population. The many opportunities for the students to take part in the athletic program are excellent.

• The administrative team is very hardworking and puts many extra hours in to best support the teachers in their endeavors on behalf of the students and in providing the educational leadership for the system.

• The town of Carlisle is very interested in the education of its youngsters and is very supportive of that undertaking.

Q. What are you going to do next?

A. My wife tells me it is time “to go and smell the roses.” ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito