New principals: Changes in store at London

As the school year comes to an end, the London City School District bids farewell to one long-time principal and hello to one new one.

After 10 years at London Middle School, Principal Mark Elliott is moving on, and the high school will start the 2008-09 school year with a new assistant principal, West Jefferson resident Pauline D. Swan.

Elliott resigns

The London Board of Education accepted Elliott’s resignation at a special meeting on May 15. His last day will be June 30.

Elliott spent his first year at the middle school as assistant principal and athletic director before taking the helm as principal.

“It is hard to believe that 10 years have passed since I began working at London Middle School. The staff, students, parents and community have been wonderful to work with and for,” said Elliott in his resignation letter.

“I believe I have grown in my role as principal, learning from colleagues, parents and board members. The time has come for me to move on to new challenges.”

In a phone interview on May 15, Elliott said he is “ready to get back to the classroom” and set aside the stress that comes with being an administrator.

While he does not have a specific job lined up, he does have a specific location in mind.

“My wife, Ann, and I are looking very hard at Colorado. We have a son, Tyson, out there. We’ve been out to visit many, many times. We love that area of the country,” he said.

Besides family, Elliott has a connection to the West that dates back to his teenage years. The Eagle Scout spent his summers working at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M. He patrolled horse corrals in the mountains, watching for bears.

He’s no longer in the market for bear patrol duty, but he has applied for several school jobs online.

“I’ve gotten a couple of responses back already. It’s looking positive,” he said.

Whether or not his next challenge takes him out of state, Elliott said he looks forward to trying something new.

Regarding Elliott’s service to London City Schools, Superintendent Steve Allen commented, “Mark really gave us his best for 10 years. He worked very hard for us. We wish him the best.”

Allen will start the search for Elliott’s replacement by posting the job, screening resumés and conducting first interviews. Staff and parents will take part in the second round of interviews when the pool has been narrowed to three or four candidates.

The goal, Allen said, is to have the new principal selected by the July board meeting. Administrative contracts start Aug. 1.

Swan becomes assistant principal

Pauline D. Swan will take up her new job as London High School’s assistant principal on Aug. 1. On May 19, the school board granted Swan a two-year contract at a yearly salary of $75,000.

Swan has served as principal at Springfield South High School for the past four years, prior to which she spent three years as the school’s assistant principal. The remainder of her more than 20 years in education was spent as a teacher at Cedarville High School.

“I like the demographics of the school district,” said Swan of her reason for taking the London job. “It’s a rural school; I feel comfortable with it because of my time at Cedarville. But, it’s also a city school, and I enjoy the energy of city schools. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Swan said she looks forward to helping London City Schools strive for excellence and to working with London’s superintendent.

“Steve Allen has a really good reputation. It’s great to have a chance to work with him,” she said.

Allen said Swan’s experience as an administrator will give her a running start and reduce the need for Principal Tim Keib to conduct extensive training.

“Pauline can step in and have quite a skill set that will help London High School immediately,” Allen said. “That’s what made her appealing.”

That skill set includes experience with implementation of a Positive Behavior Support (PBS) system that teaches students expectations and rewards them for good behavior. This year is the second full year the system has been in place at Springfield South.

“We are trying to migrate toward a positive behavior support system K through 12 that uses the same ter-minology and structure so that there is consistency for students as they flow from building to building,” Allen said. “We hope that it makes a positive difference for both kids and parents.”

Originally from Youngstown, Swan earned her undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University and her master’s degree in administration at the University of Dayton.

She and her husband, Steve, live in West Jefferson with their two cats and two dogs. They are supporters of the Humane Society of Madison County.

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