By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
---- — BEEKMANTOWN — Beekmantown Middle School recently kicked off the new year with a new leader.
Elaine Dixon took on the role of interim principal of the school following the departure of Principal James Knight Jr., who resigned on Nov. 30 to accept a job as principal of Malone Middle School.
A graduate of Beekmantown High School, Dixon told the Press-Republican in an email that she is excited to be back at her alma mater and has a vested interest in the district where she resides.
“It feels great to return here in my professional career; it is right where I want to be,” she said. “Although much has changed since I was in school here, there are still many familiar and friendly faces.”
Beekmantown Central received several applicants for the interim position, according to district Superintendent Scott Amo, but chose Dixon, in part, for her administrative experience.
Before serving as assistant principal of the Special Education Division at Champlain Valley Educational Services, from August to December 2012, Dixon was principal of Crown Point Central School for just over two years.
She has also taught social studies and Spanish at Crown Point and AuSable Valley central schools, Seton Catholic and Our Lady of Victory Academy.
“We were very, very impressed with her temperament, very, very impressed with her understanding that she’d be taking a position at an interim level, with the future to be determined,” Amo said.
Dixon is under contract with the district through June 30, 2013, at a prorated salary of $80,000.
Whether the school will fill the position permanently, Amo said, will depend on how the district’s 2013-14 budget shapes up.
In the coming months, he noted, the School Board will evaluate the district’s staffing needs, as well as its revenues and expenditures for the coming year and determine whether to maintain the current staffing structure or, perhaps, make reductions, which could include administrative positions.
“It wouldn’t be necessarily the (principal) position that would be vacated; it might become an assistant-principal position, in which case the (principal) would still have to be appointed,” Amo said.
“But the question is, do you want to be a principal, at that point, if there is no assistant principal?”
The board, he noted, will have reached a decision by April as to what staff positions to include in the 2013-14 budget.
In the meantime, Dixon will work toward some goals she hopes to achieve during her time as interim principal.
“I want to be a part of and help cultivate the strong sense of teamwork that already exists here in the Middle School,” she said. “I would like to use this teamwork to foster an excitement for learning among students and staff and offer resources where I can.”
Dixon added that she plans to help the school continue to implement state-mandated learning initiatives and hopes to do so with as much ease as possible.
“Mostly, I would like to promote a school culture of improvement and work together with teachers and students on innovative ways to increase student achievement,” she said.
Email Ashleigh Livingston: