jex-08152019-nws-midlandelem-a01

Deanna Martens is looking forward to the start of a new school year, her first as Midland Elementary’s principal.

Oxford Junction

Deanna Martens certainly isn’t a new face around the Midland elementary building, but she will be taking on a new role at the school as the principal for the 2019-2020 school year.

Martens has been with the district since 1997, starting the district’s Shared Visions preschool program, before also teaching in kindergarten and third grade, teaching fifth and sixth grade reading and serving as the instructional coach and curriculum director for the last three years.

Having served as curriculum director, working with teachers and the administration, and being a familiar face around the building has made the transition a pretty smooth one. She got into the administrative side of things because she saw the impact the other administrators made.

“I had some very strong administrators, and I could see the difference that they made,” Martens said of why she transitioned from the classroom to the administrative side of things.

There’s also the added bonus that her predecessor, Angela Ruley, is still around the building as the vocal teacher. She’s been very helpful in helping Martens get situated and familiarize herself with the nuances of her new position.

“We’ve always had a really good relationship. So, I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” she said.

As the instructional coach and curriculum director, there’s been a focus on making sure the school was meeting the needs of students and properly challenging them. As she gets ready for the new school year and her new role, Martens said her focus will be on the social aspects of students and making sure they come in ready to learn.

“There’s a lot of focus on social, emotional growth of skills and learning this year,” she said.

There will be no major changes, just some minor tweaks when it comes to addressing those matters. In addition to the therapy dogs that were new to the district last year, there will also be a mental health professional in the building for 15 hours a week. Ryan Luensman will also be serving as a part-time behavior intervention coach. Luensman will be able to go into classrooms to deal with students with behavioral issues and give one-on-one guidance, so the teacher can continue teaching.

A couple weeks out from the start of a new year, Aug. 23, Martens said she’s ready to get things started. Her husband helps coach on the football team. They had their camp the previous week and are just starting practice. So, for Martens, she’s already getting used to the schedule that comes with the start of a new school year.

“We’re ready to get kids back in the building,” she said.

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