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The Advocate and Democrat.

New assistant principal hopes to be staple for Vonore

Published: 9:42 AM, 08/05/2013 Last updated: 9:43 AM, 08/05/2013

Author: Jessica Cross
Source: The Monroe County Advocate

A new assistant principal has been named for Vonore Elementary and Vonore Middle schools.

Donna Stapleton began work this week, stepping into the split role with excitement.

"I feel so fortunate to be in this position and I'm looking forward to meeting each and every student and parent," said Stapleton. "I encourage all of them to stop by and introduce themselves once the school year gets up and running."

Monroe County Director of Schools Mike Lowry hired Stapleton on July 22, after she came in to interview for a guidance counselor position.

"When I went in to interview for that, the assistant principal position had not been posted yet," Stapleton explained. "When asked about my previous experience, I told them I'd been an elementary school principal before and they asked if I'd be interested in that type of role again. We just kind of shifted gears in the interview and there you have it!"

In June, Angela "Angie" Davis was hired for the the split position, but she resigned from the position in late June to accept a job in Blount County.

Stapleton called her hire "meant to be."

"I am convinced it was meant to be," she said. "I'm where I'm supposed to be."

Stapleton has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and English from the University of Texas, a master's degree in counseling and education from California Lutheran University and a second master's degree in educational leadership from California Lutheran University. She also obtained her educational specialization from California State University-Northridge.

Originally from Chicago, Stapleton said she has moved around a few times due to her husband's job. The couple is currently living in Loudon.

"My family is from this area and his is from Indiana," she said. "It was time for us to work our way back home."

Stapleton's years of experience include time as an elementary and middle school teacher, a middle school counselor, a Central Office supervisor and an elementary school principal. She has worked in the Knox County School System for the past few years.

"I feel very, very fortunate," said Stapleton. "A lot of times when you move around, it sometimes takes a toll on your career path, but I've been very fortunate to always land in positions where I learn and I'm able to grow both personally and professionally."

That experience will make a difference here in Monroe County, said Lowry.

"Donna's prior administrative experience and love of children will be a great asset to the Vonore community," Lowry told The Advocate & Democrat.

Stapleton said she is looking forward to the new challenge.

"I think I have a pretty good idea of what to anticipate," she said. "When you're working with little ones especially, there's always a new challenge and that's one of the best parts of the job."

The split position will allow Stapleton to work with the age groups that she began her career with.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to working with middle schoolers," she said.

Stapleton's hope for Vonore Elementary and Vonore Middle schools is that they will continue to grow academically.

"To make sure that the faculty and staff at both schools are working toward the common goal of moving students forward and making sure they're successful," she said. "Also, that we create an environment for the kids where they feel safe and nurtured and that we genuinely care about them as human beings."

But, she also realizes things won't go smoothly all the time.

"There will be bumps along the way," Stapleton said. "There always are. But, as long as we work together toward our common goal, we'll get through those little bumps."

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