Seaford Middle, West Seaford welcome new principals
By Scott Bleile
As the new 2017-18 school approaches, Seaford Middle and West Seaford Elementary schools are welcoming new principals. Taking over at Seaford Middle is Jason Cameron and at West Seaford is Laura Schneider. Both bring many years of experience in education.
'Transforming the nest'w will be the theme this year,' said Seaford Middle School Principal Jason Cameron. 'Our test scores are not the best and we need to improve them. This starts in the classroom with rigorous instruction, behavior and high expectations. We must change the culture in the school. We need to start with high behavioral expectations throughout the school. We need to fight the perception that we are a bad school and show the community that Seaford Middle School is a very good school with great teachers. We all need to be on the same page. We need to build a product that the parents can get behind and trust so they feel good about sending their children to the middle school. We want the kids to come here from our elementary schools and not leave to go elsewhere. This is where changing the culture will come to the front. The students, parents and teachers have to feel safe in the school.'
Cameron takes over leadership of the middle school from Stephanie Smith. He has 17 years of experience in education from teaching, being a principal and assistant superintendent. 'Our test scores are low, and they will be posted all over the school so that everyone knows that our goal is to improve scores by working together. Sure, we hope for a huge improvement, who doesn't, but we need to be realistic to know that these changes will take some time. Culture change and achievement go together.
Students need to be respectful to teachers, so the teachers can teach. We need to learn from our mistakes. I am a very competitive person and want to be number one in the state, but we need to take baby steps before we can get there.'
Cameron received his bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh, his master's degree from Wilmington University and is currently working on his doctorate degree. He lives in Bridgeville with his wife and two children. Gary Zoll and Jerod Phillips are the associate principals.
Principal Laura Schneider comes to West Seaford from the Delaware Department of Education, where she was the director of educator effectiveness the last three years. Before that she was a principal in New Jersey and the Indian River School District. 'The reason I wanted to come to Seaford is because the school district is doing all the right things to be a great school district,' said Schneider. 'I wanted to work in a district with leadership that is willing to make the tough decisions. For example, the decision to redistrict the schools. This was a tough decision to make, but the changes were made and have done very well. My plan is to seek to understand how this school works. I want to do entry interviews with the staff and have the parents fill out a survey about what is good about the school and what is bad about the school. I want them to be honest, so we can get the data we need to make things better in the school. I want to also hear from the students. What they love about the school; what would they would change and what their expectations are the upcoming school year.'
Associate Principal Chad Luzier will return to West Seaford for the coming year. 'Chad and I want to gather as much data as we can and look for trends. Our kids come first, we need to do what is best for them. We need to set high expectations for the students and staff. We need to come to school each day to be our best, the students deserves our best. We have set up a committee with parents and staff for input as to how to make our school better.'
Schneider received her bachelor's degree from the University of Delaware and her master's degree from Rutgers University. She resides in Lewes with her two children.
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