WAYLAND ? Four years ago, Emily Settles moved away from home but now she?s ready to come back. Or at the very least, be closer.
The Columbus Junction native has spent the last four years as the Elementary School Principal at Richardson Elementary in Ft. Madison but as of Aug. 6, she will take over as the WACO Elementary School principal.
At 14, Settles was a lifeguard and learned from a young age that she enjoyed working with kids. During her senior year of high school, an administrator encouraged her to look into education and told her she would make a good principal one day. ?That was my inspiration and I?d never really thought about it,? she admits. ?(But) I started chasing the dream after that.?
Settles graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in elementary education, then received her master?s degree from Western Illinois University. She began her career as a second grade teacher, then became the 7-12 dean of students at Columbus Junction. After moving to the Ft. Madison area and acting as assistant principal for a variety of schools, she became the elementary school principal at Richardson Elementary.
She is excited for the new opportunities WACO can offer but says she?ll miss the staff and students she?s built relationships with in the Ft. Madison area. ?I?ll miss my administrative team and the kiddos for sure,? she said. Despite the new changes, she says the opportunity at WACO was almost serendipitous and right where she wants to be.
?I was not searching for a job at all, this job just happened to come up,? she said. ?If I could pick any school I would want to be at in life right now, it would truly be WACO. It was just an opportunity I couldn?t pass up.?
She is most excited to learn how the four-day week works for staff and students as well as the J-term which allows for new opportunities for learning, such as STEM classes.
Settles does not have a list of changes in mind, but instead would like to implement and advocate for intervention progress with teachers and students socially, emotionally and academically. ?A lot of times we see them (students) come into school and for whatever reason basic needs aren?t always met and we want to be able to meet those needs,? she said. ?I?ve always been a firm believer in collaborating to meet the needs (of students).?
Although leaving Ft. Madison was a hard decision, Settles says she?s ready for the new opportunities and challenges the new district will offer. ?I?ve got big shoes to fill,? she says. ?(But) I?m excited to be a Warrior.?