Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season. I feel confident that 2016 will be a stellar year for the Oak Bluffs School. As many of you know I have been hired to serve as Interim Principal for the remainder of the school year. However, it has occurred to me that many people may not know all about me. Therefore, I would like to take a moment to introduce myself and explain my educational background, experience, and philosophy.
My academic background is a combination of psychology, curriculum, instruction, assessment, and educational policy and law. In 1986, I graduated from Saint Anselm College with a degree in Psychology. The essential understandings and skills I developed from my experience at Saint Anselm are integral to the success of an educator and administrator. These skills include a thorough understanding of emotional and cognitive development, communication and listening skills, knowledge of community services and interventions available to support individuals in need or crisis, compassionate concern, respect for confidentiality, and team collaboration. My Masters degree focused on instructional strategies and developmental needs related to the adolescent learner. The core of my Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study work was on research-based best practices related to interventions and assessments that will promote literacy proficiency at all levels. My Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northeastern University focused on issues related to 21st century learning, education reform, social policy, educational law, educational policies and economics. Additionally, my experience as President of the Martha’s Vineyard Education Association significantly built my knowledge base of educational polices, educational law, budgetary concerns, contractual obligations and negotiations, conflict resolution, and the skills needed in solving sensitive personnel issues. Furthermore, last year I worked closely with Richie Smith completing a 500 hour Leadership Licensure Program (LLP) internship at the Oak Bluffs School. This program deepened my understanding of educational law regarding Special Education and 504 students, budgetary processes, the new teacher evaluation system, resources and procedures regarding the implementation of DESE mandates, data analysis, scheduling, effective strategies for engaging in difficult conversations and the daily functional needs of the Oak Bluffs School. Finally, the past six months I have work as the Administrator for Curriculum and Instructional Support. During this time I have been engaged in supporting the needs in all aspects of the daily functioning of our school community.
My eighteen years at the Oak Bluffs School and twenty-two years as an educator has afforded me the opportunity to develop curriculum, instructional, interventional, and assessment skills that allows me to set high standards for students while understanding and fostering the growth and needs of the individual. My experience as an Administrator for Curriculum and Instructional Support, Reading Specialist, classroom teacher, district wide Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment leader, and work with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on the ELA MCAS Development committee and the ELA Common Core Standards Development Panel has allowed me to develop my educational philosophy. This philosophy is grounded in the belief that students and staff learn and succeed when their educational, social, and emotional needs are supported. It is essential that while we set high standards and foster the growth of the individual, we value the importance of meeting the individual at their point of need. This understanding applies to both student and staff. Individual growth needs to be supported. This support must involve all stake holders in the school community. The basis of this support is the building of a trusting, positive, motivating environment. The building of a trusting, collaborative climate is a core, vital skill of a successful administrator. When we focus on building and sustaining relational trust we are build communities where all members feel safe to take risks as learner, to make mistakes, and to grow as individuals. This type of a community builds life long learner who are motivated to grow and who are engaged in becoming contributing members of society. This is the type of community that our school has at its core. I feel my capacity and dedication to continue to grow and foster this type of culture is my greatest asset. With your continued support I know we will nurture and grow the most valuable gift we can give our students.
I feel confident that I possess the skills, experience, and education necessary to be a strong interim principal of the Oak Bluffs School. We have an amazing pool of talented and dedicated faculty, staff, students, families, and community members. When I reflect on this community I can not help but passionately state that I am PROUD TO BE FROM OB!!!!!
I look forward to serving and leading the Oak Bluffs School Community.
Dr. Megan Farrell