New Maze leaders aim to bolster attendance, engagement – Benitolink: San Benito County News

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Information provided by Hollister School District
New leaders at Maze Middle School want to ensure all students feel like they belong.
New Principal Christian Woods delivered the message as she entered her first year at the helm of the Hollister School District site. She is joined by new Assistant Principal Shanieka Richard on the Maze administrative team.
Woods is underscoring priorities such as focusing on school-wide common instructional strategies, an emphasis on social-emotional learning, alternative discipline practices to keep students in the classroom, and added opportunities for extracurriculars, to name a few.
The new leaders prefer to keep students in school instead of suspending them. She and Richard think alike, as the assistant principal said she will emphasize engaging with students and fellow staff members.
Woods and Richard shared their backgrounds, passion for education, and expectations for Maze.
Woods was a teacher for the Pajaro Unified School District in Watsonville for 16 years, teaching English and the arts. She taught K-12, but mostly at the middle school level. Subsequently, she coached new teachers for three years while working for the Santa Cruz/Silicon Valley New Teacher Project and spent the past three years with the San Benito County Office of Education in an Instructional Support Services administrator role.
There, she provided county-wide professional development, coordinated a new teacher introduction program, organized annual student county events, and assisted rural schools.
She grew up in Corralitos and now lives in San Benito County with her husband Ken Woods, principal at Calaveras School, and two teenage daughters, one of whom heads to college this fall.
Woods said she has a firm belief that students need both social and academic support.
Her colleague Richard said she has felt welcomed to Maze by staff and students along with the Hollister community, where she moved to two years ago. This is her eighth year in education with all that time in some sort of teaching and leadership capacity. She taught in Texas and most recently came from Britton Middle School in Morgan Hill.
This is her first year as a full-time administrator, but she noted time spent as an administrative intern ‒ where she oversaw creation of teachers’ professional development practices ‒ and working on the district’s guiding coalition in Morgan Hill, where she worked with site leaders across the district on creating common curriculum and assessments.
In her new role, she feels overprepared in the sense that she came from a Morgan Hill school with about double the enrollment.
Woods said the two have discussed ideas for new lunchtime club activities as another way to keep students engaged. With regard to mental wellbeing, Woods said the school will focus on school-wide social emotional implementation processes and partnerships with community-based organizations, along with more parent involvement so families can help reinforce the topics being taught at school.
Ultimately, the goal is to improve academic performance, especially in language arts and math.
This article was submitted by the Hollister School District. More by Hollister School District

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