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New principal in familiar territory

 

Marcy Horne is the new principal at Nespelem Elementary School. - Scott Hunter photo

When Marcy Horne took over as principal at Nespelem Elementary School last March, she felt she had at least part of her orientation already accomplished.

Horne had been the principal at Paschal Sherman Indian School from 2015 to 2017, a position that familiarized her with not only local issues, but some of the same families served by Nespelem.

It has been helpful, she said, "just knowing the system and knowing the area. ... When you come in from outside the area, it does take a while to understand and just figure out everything."

Horne took over last spring after the school board accepted the resignation of Debra Pankey, who had health problems.

Before PSIS, Horne had worked eight years at the Wenatchee School District, coordinating a mentor program and as the high school coordinator for AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination). She also substituted for administrators.

"The mentor program was an amazing experience for me," she said, explaining that she had ramped it up, recruiting 11th- and 12th-grade students in under-represented groups and community volunteers to help them prepare a path to college.

With a 95-percent success rate, she said, that program has won a golden apple award. "It really narrowed the achievement gap for the district," she said.

As Nespelem's school starts its new year, Horne has four new teachers on staff, including a full-time librarian who is a certificated teacher, a change from past practice.

Superintendent Mary Hall, at the school's opening barbecue event Aug. 27, said that change was made to help focus on the teaching of reading in the younger grades.

Just 23 percent of the school's fourth-graders met state standards for English Language Arts in the 2016-17 school year, the last for which records are published at the state's "report card" site.

Hall said the school also had been approved for three AmeriCorps workers who will be useful in that focus.

Nespelem also has new teachers at first and fourth grades, and for its special education program.

"I'm excited," Horne said. "I think we'll have a great year."

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