By David Boyce
On the fourth day of school, Ridgeview’s new principal, Tyler Shannon, took 20 minutes out of his schedule to show a family around the building and introduce them to staff and teachers. Ten new students from other schools have enrolled at Ridgeview for the 2016-17 school year. Shannon and his staff want to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible.
“They are releasing their greatest possession to us for eight hours a day,” Shannon said. “It is important that we build trust with the families, so taking time to get to know the teacher early on, and feel comfortable with the building, are important for that transition to be positive.”
Having taught for two years at Shoal Creek Elementary from 2007-2009, Shannon already knew of the community feel of the schools in Liberty Public Schools. None of that changed in the last four years when Shannon was the principal at Red Bridge Elementary in the Center School District, because his wife teaches at LPS. Returning to LPS was easy for Shannon.
“I live here in Liberty,” Shannon said. “This was a place I always wanted to get back to. This opportunity opened up, and I was very fortunate to get it.”
Shannon started on July 1st, but one reason he already looks at home at Ridgeview is because of the collaborative culture at the school. He gives credit to assistant principal, Heather Buchman.
“It has been a seamless transition,” Shannon said. “I feel like a lot of that is due to Heather knowing the building. She knows the culture of the building, the relationships, and personalities. She knows the history and the vision the building is headed in. All of those things have supported me coming in and made it more efficient.”
Buchman knows the school well, but is also making a career transition. She spent her first five years at Ridgeview teaching fourth grade and the last two years teaching fifth grade before becoming the assistant principal.
“I wanted to make a bigger impact, and just a ripple affect, outside the classroom and take on a new challenge, a new journey,” Buchman said.
It is the collaborative aspect of the school that makes Ridgeview special. Each day, Buchman sees the passion the teachers and staff have to help children succeed.
“Kids are the focus of everything we do, every decision we make,” Buchman said. “We really put their needs first.”
Shannon embraces that culture. The staff, the teachers, and families notice.
“Just because you are a principal doesn’t mean you don’t show students around, getting out to know the students and families,” Buchman said.
The goal for any successful school is to create an atmosphere where all of the students have the opportunity to grow as individuals.
“Everything that Heather said is true about the collaborative culture,” Shannon said. “This is a diverse building that believes in inclusion and bringing everyone together. We strive to include everyone to make this a learning environment for everyone.
“What I think is really neat about this school is it is diverse with special programs and has a richness to it that allows us to see the goodness in all kids.”
Shannon felt it even before the first day of school, and that is why instead of feeling first-day nerves at a new school, Shannon was eager to greet the students when they walked through the doors for the first time on August 17.
“More than anything, what I felt was the energy and excitement that comes with being back to school and the fresh start at a new school,” Shannon said.
In Shannon’s view, to have a successful school, you need to have really caring adults and adults who love children. You need to have supportive programs.
“This is hard work and enjoyable work,” he said. “If you can love kids and programs that support various needs of your children, and you can work hard, you have a good chance to be successful.”