Thursday, July 24, 2014

Incoming Wellsville principal still wants classroom role

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 3/3/2014

Jason Townsend never plans to stop teaching, he said, even when he begins his position next school year as the new Wellsville Elementary School principal.

“I am always going to look for those opportunities to come in [to the classroom] and help when I can,” Townsend said.

Jason Townsend never plans to stop teaching, he said, even when he begins his position next school year as the new Wellsville Elementary School principal.

“I am always going to look for those opportunities to come in [to the classroom] and help when I can,” Townsend said.

Wellsville Elementary School, 218 Ash St., Wellsville, will be Townsend’s first official school administrator position, he said. He has been a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Mulvane Grade School in Mulvane for the past seven years and also has taken on an assistant principal internship at the school since 2010.

“I’ve kind of taken on that role,” Townsend said. “It is not a formal title. I started my internship [in Mulvane] in 2010, and assumed the role of assistant principal handling discipline and working with staff development and things like that. I didn’t get paid extra for it. It was just something I did and I knew that it would help me later in my future, so I did it.”

His work in that informal position helped him rise to the top among 42 other applicants for the Wellsville position, Jerry Henn, Wellsville superintendent, said. Townsend’s first day is set for July 23.

The new principal is expected to succeed the school’s current top administrator, Randy Renoud, who announced in October he would be resigning at the end of the school year. Renoud has been with the Wellsville school district for 44 years, including the past 12 years as the elementary school principal.

“There wasn’t one of those defining moments,” Renoud said previously. “It was kind of a process this fall when school started that things just weren’t the same. I still love my job. I still love the kids. I still love coming to work, and I guess that is a good time to quit when you still love to do all that. I found that the energy that I think the job should take wasn’t the amount of energy that I either was willing to spend or didn’t have. I don’t know which. If I can’t do the job 100 percent, I’m not going to do it.”

One of Townsend’s major goals, he said, is to ensure Wellsville schools are vibrant in the community.

“One of the big things is Wellsville is a small community and I really want to make sure the school is a part of that community,” he said. “My first goal is to get to know everybody — students, staff, teachers, parents — and getting us all on the same page and sharing the vision of what our school should look like. As far as that, really kind of looking at the students’ needs and what we have and figuring out how we can best serve that community and the students in the community.”

Townsend and his wife, Mariah, and two sons, Payton, 2, and Parker, 1, plan to move to Wellsville, he said. While he isn’t sure when that will happen, he is excited to be a part of the community, he said.

“My wife is a teacher as well, so we are looking for her jobs, but our plan is to ultimately have a home in Wellsville,” Townsend said. “It is a part of my responsibility as principal and will help us get to know the community.”

The Wellsville principal position will be an opportunity for personal growth and open doors for his family, Townsend said.

“I’m always looking for ways that I can grow as a person and my career and my family can grow,” he said. “It is just an experience I wanted to have. As a teacher, you watch your students grow and you have that good feeling. And as a principal, you can watch a whole building grow, and the sense of moving forward is very satisfying.”

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