The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 1, 2010

Joyce Mehaffey slides smoothly into new Superintendent/Principal role

PARENT INPUT. Carlisle School Superintendent Joyce Mehaffey (on left) chats with Liz Bishop during the Superintendent’s Coffee on September 24. (Photo by Priscilla Stevens)

Joyce Mehaffey is Carlisle School’s new Superintendent/Principal, but, she still says, “I feel a lot like a Principal.” She stepped into her dual role this year, continuing as Middle School Principal and taking on the Superintendent role, replacing former Superintendent Marie Doyle. “I still have the same duties, with superintendent duties interspersed,” she explained. She says she is happy with the arrangement.

“I think working with the middle school is an advantage,” she said. “I get to work closely with the teachers.” However, she added that it is a challenge to balance her time. “This is a learning year,” she said, and she plans to use it to determine what her priorities are in both positions.

“I’m involved with the school on all levels,” Mehaffey said. “All my experience is contributing to my ability to do this job.” Mehaffey received her Ph.D. in counseling psychology, and has certification as a K-8 principal, a superintendent, and in school psychology. Before joining the Carlisle School in 2008, Mehaffey worked as the director of curriculum and instruction in the Greenfield District Schools. She was a K-6 principal in Greenfield for six years, and has been a special educator and a school psychologist.

Mehaffey said the school year has started well. “It was a great transition, a great beginning.” Teachers came early to set up their classrooms, the new-parent coffee was held and she greeted new and returning students.

New professional development opportunities

She is excited about two new professional development initiatives. The first is staff book groups. Staff members are reading one of a dozen or so education-related books and will discuss the book during an upcoming early release day. “The teachers love the idea,” she said.

Joyce Mehaffey (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

Another new initiative encourages teachers to travel off campus. On October 12, a full professional day, Mehaffey said staff members will visit a location – a museum or a school, for example – to experience what they may not have time to see during their regular schedule. “I wanted them to go out and choose something, to look at something they want to experience.” For example, she said that some teachers may want to visit a school that offers a different curriculum. The teachers will report on their visits during the next early release day, she said.

Mehaffey said she enjoys the partnership with parents and is very impressed by the number of volunteers. Still, she notes that the school could use more middle school lunch and recess volunteers. Her biggest challenge, apart from balancing her duties as superintendent and principal, is the building project. Construction is scheduled to begin in January when her first focus will be the safety of the students.

When asked what she does in her spare time, Mehaffey said she likes to stop at Kimballs. “It’s my end-of-the-week bonus.” She also enjoys walking and reading. ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito