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Newsletter for August, 2016

From the Principal…

This is my 16th year as principal at Alma Intermediate School, and I’m more excited than ever. I feel an intense thankfulness for the work we do in education. As a parent, I’ve seen the positive influence our teachers and schools had on the lives of my daughters.

I’ve now been a principal in Alma long enough to have the privilege of hiring former students to teach at AIS. I’ve also received medical care from former students, and that will make you sit up and pay attention! In both cases, it has been a joy to see these young adults using their knowledge and skills to help others and contribute to our community.

Seeing the words of our school’s mission statement become a reality in the lives of young people is what drives us to be the best teachers, principals, and parents we can possibly be for our children. Thank you for the honor of working with your child, the most treasured person if your life. We look forward to great learning this year!


This link will take you to our August, 2016 Newsletter which includes a listing of new classroom teachers, calendar, and this year’s school supply list. We look forward to seeing our new third graders at Great Start on August 11th from 8:30 – 12:30.

Losing a Mentor and Friend


When I returned from a backpacking trip in California, I learned that my mentor and longtime friend Glynn Calahan had died. She was elderly and burdened with health problems. When I saw her at church on our last visit to El Dorado, we hugged, and she asked about my daughters, Christen and Anna. I will miss Mrs. Calahan very much, but am thankful that I was able to be a teacher in her school.

Below is an excerpt from something I wrote a couple of years ago about Glynn.

In the early 1990s, I applied to teach elementary music in El Dorado while I worked on my master’s degree in counseling. It turned out to be one of the best career moves I’ve ever made.

Since Glynn had known me since childhood, I assumed we’d have a 30-minute “courtesy interview.” I was wrong about that. We spent two hours together. She asked some challenging questions and shared her heart for education. By the end of our interview, I had a much better understanding of her love for students and her philosophy about teaching and learning.

What followed were two of my favorite years in education. I began to think of Glynn as a mentor, watching everything she did. I’d never considered becoming a school principal until after seeing the positive impact she had on students and teachers.

Later, when I became a principal, I tried to be just like her and often noticed similar practices. I had my white notebook (now Chromebook) with students’ test scores and for my observations in classrooms. I had benches placed in the hallways for mini-conferences with students about their learning. I visited classrooms a lot. As a beginning principal, I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I visited classrooms often like I’d seen Glynn do, and there was value in that.

There is no way to measure the influence of Glynn Calahan. It continues through her students and teachers today, and for years to come.

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