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Olson selected as Elementary Principal

March 1, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

North Tama's own Susan Olson has been selected out of three finalists to be the new Elementary Principal and Technology Coordinator for the district, taking over duties from the retiring Josh Youel officially on July 1.

"Susan Olson has the right combination of skills and experience to meet North Tama's needs." North Tama Superintendent David Hill said. "Through her prior work, she has proven to be a goal-oriented team player who promotes student engagement and has high expectations for herself and others. As a leader, I'm confident that Susan will capitalize on the great things currently happening at North Tama Elementary and will use a collaborative process to lead the school forward to even greater levels of accomplishment in the coming years."

Olson currently serves as the K-12 Instructional Coach for the school district, working with K-12 teachers to "implement new instructional strategies and maximize student learning" as well as mentoring teachers and helped establish North Tama's Teacher Leadership program. Previously, she had taught secondary English at North Tama.

Article Photos

Susan Olson has been selected as the new North Tama Elementary Principal. Photo submitted.

"I know that we have great teachers, staff and administration here at North Tama, and if I had the opportunity to be part of that administrative team I thought it would a great opportunity," Olson said.

Hill initially started the hiring process from a pool of 34 applicants, reducing the field down to 11 semi-finalists for an "in-depth screening process" which included reference checks, a screening interview, and evaluation of application materials and credentials in comparison to the pre-established hiring criteria, according to a release by Hill. Elementary parents, K-12 teaching and support staff, and school board members helped to create a hiring criteria for the position.

After narrowing down to three finalists, each were invited to visit the district on Friday, Feb. 22 for a tour by Youel as well as a tour of Traer. According to the release, finalists participated in formal interviews with two groups of stakeholders, which included elementary teachers, elementary parents, K-12 teacher leaders, administrators, school board members, and elementary support staff.

"A lot of taking that tour with Youel was talking about technology the principal would be responsible in overseeing to continue working for the district," Olson said. "When I first came to Traer, I felt I was planted here for a reason. Having this Instructional Coaching position under my belt helped me prepare for an administrative position. I'm team oriented and intend to work alongside my staff to make mistakes, learn from them and grow."

Over her time at North Tama, Olson has come to know many of the teachers in the

elementary school and hopes to work with the faculty to continue developing programs working for the school while also sitting down with them to consider how to improve on other programs to benefit the students.

"This is an exciting opportunity as an administrators come in and to see the great things they are doing," Olson said. "We want to move fluidly and make changes as needed."

A resident of Traer for eight years, Olson is married to Matt and has five children: Niles, Grace, Brynn, Mya, and Breanna. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and is currently working a master's degree in educational leadership from the University of Northern Iowa, which she credits for preparing her for this position. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, and supporting her children in their activities. Pending approval by the Board of Education, Olson will officially begin her duties on July 1 and will begin working full days in the office at the beginning of August.



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