WILMINGTON — An assistant principal with Sycamore Community Schools in southwest Ohio will be the new principal at Holmes Elementary, which is the kindergarten through second grade building for Wilmington City Schools (WCS).
Presently, Marilee Tanner is the assistant principal of E.H. Greene Intermediate School, for grades 5 and 6, where she has been a building administrator for a decade. Prior to that, she served as an assistant principal at Maple Dale Elementary (a K-4 building) as well as director of Aves Academy, a high school program.
She has been an administrator with Sycamore Community Schools since 2006. The school district, which includes Blue Ash, has a minority enrollment of 36 percent, as well as students from 40 countries.
Prior to her work at Sycamore schools, Tanner taught first-grade children for seven years at St. Margaret of York in Loveland.
She received her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Xavier University, where she later earned her master’s degree in administration.
Currently, Tanner is in a doctorate program at Miami University and expects to defend her dissertation this summer.
She enjoys watching sports — especially her Xavier Musketeers — plus playing tennis and going to the gym. She previously coached junior varsity tennis at Sycamore High School.
At Monday’s school board meeting, Tanner was awarded a two-year contract, effective Aug. 1. Following the board’s vote, Tanner said, “I’m excited to be here.”
She will succeed Holmes Elementary Principal Karen Long who is moving on to work for the Ohio Writing Project based at Miami University.
There was a presentation during the board meeting about staff training in the “restorative practices” approach during a professional development day earlier this month. WCS Director of Pupil Services Natalie Harmeling described restorative practices as a science of relationships and of building community — which also affects students’ learning.
She said in order for teachers to instruct children more effectively, the young students need to know the teachers like them and know about them.
In addition, restorative practices are meant to help schools reduce student suspensions and discipline referrals.
Third-grade teacher Brandy Smith, who had training in restorative practices before this month, reported she started utilizing “circles” in February to build community, and she uses the technique for both social and academic reasons. Students and the teacher sit in a circle and, for example, students can just say how they’re feeling, said Smith.
The effects, she said, include students getting to learn about others, some coming gradually out of their shell, making students feel closer to each other.
The approach is also used in more advanced grades. WHS English teacher Erin Moore reported students really like the circles sharing. A student who suffers with anxiety and says that meeting people terrified her, related to Moore she now looks forward to getting in a circle “to talk about ourselves.”
Another student says the circle builds relationships among students and makes for a more comfortable learning environment.
As a result of a School Quality Improvement Grant of $58,340, a new position of data and analysis coach at the Wilmington Middle School will be funded for the upcoming academic year.
The board formally accepted two donations. Holly Young donated $178 for carnations for a Valentine fundraiser for the middle school Project Trust. The funds raised will assist with scholarships for students who cannot pay the fee for the Project Trust camp experience.
And Gary and Barb Andrews donated a speaker system to the Wilmington baseball program.
The meeting was held at Holmes Elementary, and some second-graders called the Holmes Helpers received recognition and a certificate for their student leadership. Second-grade children are the oldest at the K through grade 2 building.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.