PINEDALE – Four new administrators joined the team at Sublette County School District No. 1 (SCSD1) and are excited to meet students and their families when school begins next week.
The new leaders include Norm Cox, director of special services, Heather Ryan, Pinedale Elementary School principal, Kellie Jo Williams, Skyline Academy principal and Pinedale Middle School assistant principal-activities director, and Kimberly Wyman, PES assistant principal.
The Roundup submitted four questions to each incoming administrator to provide an opportunity for the community to get to know each educator.
Tell us about your path to becoming a principal or administrator?
“This will be my 29th year in education with the last 14 being in administration. I have been in one of the larger districts in the state for the last 21 years and wanted to come to a smaller district with a real sense of community.
“Pinedale has been very welcoming and I very much look forward to being involved in the community.”
“I am ecstatic to be joining the amazing staff at Pinedale Elementary. This will be my 17th year in education. I have taught math and social studies, as well as provided teacher support as an instructional facilitator.
“I have spent the last two years in Casper as an assistant principal. My path into educational leadership has been driven by my passion to create the best learning environment possible for all students.”
Kellie Jo Williams
“When growing up, I was not interested in school because I found it boring and the teachers had a lack of enthusiasm for their subject matter. When my children entered school, I started teaching junior achievement in the classroom and found a passion for helping students love learning. While observing the teachers, I found an increased passion to help them love what they do. I enrolled in college and became a history teacher in 2008, and after a few years, obtained my master’s degree in history and my principal certification.
“I moved into administration in 2016 and served as the activities’ director and assistant principal at a charter school. Three years ago, I moved to Chugwater and served as the K-12 principal and started a preschool two years ago to help serve the needs of the community. I am passionate about students having extra-curricular opportunities, so my husband and I started a trap club to provide an opportunity for the students since the school could not field sports teams due to numbers.
“I believe education is critical and every day without learning something new is a wasted day. I am pursuing my Doctorate of Educational Leadership at the University of Wyoming. It is my desire to help the students, staff and the community reach their full potential and have a passion for the path they choose.”
“I taught for 28 years prior to coming to SCSD1. Those experiences ranged from kindergarten through high school. Some of my specific jobs included kindergarten, second grade, instructional facilitator, ELL teacher and state liaison, middle school technology teacher, special education teacher, K-5 online instructor and graduation coach at the high school.
“While teaching, I obtained my master’s degree in technology education and doctorate from the University of Wyoming in curriculum and instruction. While administration was always my goal, I chose to wait until my two sons graduated from high school before actively pursuing this venture.
“It is hard for me to express in words just how excited I am, but an indicator is that I go home smiling each day and am grateful for the wonderful PES family I have met and look forward to meeting in the near future. This includes the staff, students and families. I look forward to continuing to enjoy all that Pinedale has to offer. What an amazing place to be!”
What are you looking forward to the most as the school year ramps up?
“I am most looking forward to seeing students learn and teachers teach. I am also looking forward to working in a very high-achieving district.”
“There are many exciting aspects to starting a new school year. I most look forward to building relationships with the students and staff and integrating into the larger community.”
“As we head into the 2022-2023 school year, I am looking forward to building positive relationships with students, staff, as well as the community. Everyone has a specific path that they are pursuing and to be able to support each individual as they work toward their goal is rewarding. I am excited to be a part of SCSD1 serving as the Skyline Academy principal and Pinedale Middle School athletic director.”
“Definitely spending time getting to know our students, building relationships with everyone and supporting the overall success of PES. I am equally excited to be involved in a community that is so welcoming to me from day one. I have been quoted saying to my husband more than once, ‘Everyone here is so kind. I haven’t met a stranger yet.’”
What do you find rewarding about working with young people?
“I enjoy seeing the potential in them and watching them fulfill that potential. Young people are like sponges and can absorb concepts so quickly – it is just exciting to watch.”
“The students are what make my days exciting. It is most rewarding when you find that spark in each and every student. I was the shy wallflower in elementary school who needed gentle encouragement. We will have students just like me as a little one, to the opposite and everything in between. Working with students and finding the strategies that work for them is most rewarding.”
“What I find most rewarding about working with young people is helping them see where they are now and focus on goals they want to accomplish and supporting them in their pursuit. When a student realizes they are understanding new concepts, or accomplishing more than they thought possible, it is a pure joy to celebrate with them.”
“Young people are dynamic in that they offer you insight into many wonderful firsts, lasts and in-betweens that make you smile, laugh and definitely take stock of what is important in education. I love sharing the successes, mentoring in moments of trial and celebrating their growth over the years.”
What are you doing to prepare for winter in Pinedale?
“My last house was at about 9,100 feet at the top of Casper Mountain. I think the temperature is going to be comparable, but I think I will be dealing with a lot less snow. We averaged a bit over 11 feet a year. I embrace winter and all it has to offer.”
“Coming from Casper, I feel pretty prepared for the cold. My fingers are crossed for less windy days. My family and I like to snowshoe and hope to try more skiing in the years to come.”
“I have lived in several areas that received numerous feet of snow with blowing cold. My husband and I are prepared for snow removal and I am accustomed to wearing numerous layers of clothes and have heated gloves. We are in the process of installing a block heater on the car. It is my understanding the wind blows less here than it did in Chugwater, so I am looking forward to that!”
“Can you really prepare for winter in Pinedale? I lived in northern North Dakota for four years during my undergraduate studies. Since then, I have lived in Montana and Wyoming. I hope that it will not be quite the shock for me as some of my warmer-climate friends.
“A funny story I remember when attending university was going out to the school parking lot and seeing my little Honda Civic covered with a mid-window snowdrift. Welcome to winter! I love the outdoors and am excited to continue to explore this beautiful country in the sunshine and snow.”