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New Leadership Takes The Helm At Altoona School

New Leadership Takes The Helm At Altoona School

    The Altoona School charter elementary will see some familiar faces in new places this fall.  Longtime staff member and former assistant principal Dawn Cerney has been elevated by the school’s charter board to the position of principal, and staff members Nikki Tabb (Assistant Principal) and Jennie Donohue (Instructional Coach) have been elevated to new positions.
    “We want to work as a unit,” Cerney said during a recent interview.  She says the trio, who will share an office in the school’s historic main building, will seek to maximize the educational experience of the school’s estimated 300 students.
    “Academics will continue to be a huge focus for us, and we want all the kids to have that feeling of success.” After having just missed out on earning an A grade this past year, Cerney says expect the school to continue to excel.
    “I think you will continue to see academic growth.”
    Having been at the school for 14 years, first as a teacher and in recent years as the assistant principal under Walter Schmidt, who left the school after this past year, Cerney says she hopes to continue to build on the school’s mission as a community-based educational facility.
    “I want to continue the community theme of the school,” Cerney says, and that includes unique programs designed to reach each child regardless of their learning styles.
    “There is value in hands-on learning, and that is a huge focus for us.”
    While continuing to build on current success is a theme, Cerney says she isn't afraid to try new ideas to elevate the school further. An example of that is a revamped after-school program designed to serve as more than a simple holding station until children are picked up.
    “It’s extremely organized,” Cerney said of the program, which will include hands-on activities, homework help, and more.
    Donohue, who will have a major role in overseeing the day-to-day classroom instruction program, says giving teachers the flexibility to be creative will be a key element this year.
    “We want teachers to have the freedom to get to the standards in unique ways.”
    For Cerney, it is all about helping each child be as successful as they can be, and she expects the entire’s school staff will coalesce around that goal and know that the administrative team is there to support them.
    “We want to make sure they continue to feel appreciated.  We’re all in this together.”