MCS Restructures Administrative Roles

MCS Restructures Administrative Roles: Adds Supports for Mental Wellness, Personalized Learning
Posted on 04/23/2019

MCS Restructures Administrative RolesMason City Schools is restructuring its administrative and leadership staff to better support educators, students, and families.

mental wellness team On April 23, the Board of Education unanimously approved hiring Laura Martin as the PK-6 Mental Wellness Coordinator, Michelle Dorsey as the 7-12 Mental Wellness Coordinator, Amy Brennan as the new Deputy Superintendent, Krissy Hufnagel as the PK-6 Learning Experience Coordinator, and Shanna Bumiller as the 7-12 Learning Experience Coordinator.

“I am very proud that we can use the savings from our school start time decision to invest in mental wellness supports by increasing students' access to mental health services, decreasing stigma around seeking help, and coordinating care,” said Jonathan Cooper, Superintendent. “I am also thrilled to have Amy Brennan as a partner for our team and teachers as we deepen our Big Rock journey - particularly as it comes to personalized learning. Her commitment to inclusive excellence has been at the heart of all she does, and we look forward to having her lens helping to guide our learners’ experiences,” said Cooper.

During the 2017-2018 school year, there were 46 Mason City Schools administrators supporting staff, students, families and community. In 2019-2020, there remains 46 Mason City Schools administrators, but the district will reorganize roles to better support Comet learners. According to the Ohio Department of Education, Mason City Schools has significantly fewer administrators per student than similar districts, and the state average.

Investing in Mental Wellness
The district is adding staff who will help increase students’ access to mental health services and help coordinate care.

During talks with our students, staff, and in our CommUNITY Conversations, I have consistently heard concerns about supporting learners’ mental wellness. This is an issue that is bigger than Mason - and bigger than our schools. However, we deeply believe that our school district must do more, and our School Board has committed to investing more financial resources in this area so that we can better support students and staff,” explained Cooper. “We will also continue to pursue partnerships and grants to support mental wellness.”

As a result of the decision to have one start time for students in grades 3-6 rather than one start time for Mason Elementary School (grades 3 & 4) and a different time for Mason Intermediate School (grades 5 & 6), the district saved $150,000 - savings that will now be invested into mental wellness supports.

Mental Wellness Supervisor (Nicole Pfirman)

  • Mental Wellness Coordinator PK-2 (Laura Martin)
  • Mental Wellness Coordinator 3-6 (Breanna Lynch)
  • Mental Wellness Coordinator 7-12 (Michelle Dorsey)
  • Resource Coordinator (Warren County ESC Contracted Personnel)

During the 2019-2020 school year, current behavior supervisor Nicole Pfirman will take on a new role - Mental Wellness Supervisor and will oversee the district’s mental wellness efforts. She will be joined by two new mental wellness coordinators. Laura Martin will support the Mason Early Childhood Center. Michelle Dorsey will support Mason Middle School and Mason High School. Breanna Lynch will support Mason Elementary School and Mason Intermediate School.  The mental wellness coordinators will evaluate building level need, create and align programming with district goals, analyze program effectiveness, build staff capacity, train staff in a variety of mental health topics, and be a front line of support for students in crisis. The Mental Wellness Coordinators will work with school counselors, intervention specialists, and contracted clinical counselors to build a tiered system of intervention to increase the likelihood of students remaining in the general education environment. In addition, the Mental Wellness Coordinators will assist school teams in developing plans for transitioning students back from clinical care to help ensure a successful reintegration within the school environment. Lori Roth will also continue to support Mason High School’s Hope Squad (a school-based, peer-to-peer, suicide-prevention program with a curriculum focused on suicide prevention and self-care).

Additionally, through a grant with the Warren County ESC, a resource coordinator will work with Mason families five days a week.

Support for Personalized Learning
Mason City Schools seeks to develop the whole child by personalizing learning. The ultimate goal is for students to find ownership and belonging in their learning. Giving students voice and choice leads to customized experiences for each learner’s strengths, interests, and needs. As educators facilitate this process and scaffold learner independence, students take charge of their learning and direct it toward their aspirations and goals, as well as develop key life skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

Deputy Superintendent Amy Brennan will lead the district’s personalized learning and inclusive excellence efforts. She will supervise the PK-6 Learning Experience Coordinator and the 7-12 Learning Experience Coordinator and will also serve as a member of the district’s executive team.

“It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to serve Mason's students, families, and staff as Deputy Superintendent. I look forward to collaborating with all stakeholders as we build on and grow the excellent work already established around personalized learning,” says Brennan. "As an educator, I am driven by a passion for creating school communities that support, grow, and empower all learners, students and adults alike. I am excited to work with such a dynamic, committed group of educators as we work to make the vision of personalized learning a reality for all Mason learners."

Deputy Superintendent (Amy Brennan)

  • Learning Experience Coordinator PK-6 (Krissy Hufnagel)
  • Learning Experience Coordinator 7-12 (Shanna Bumiller)
  • 8 Learning Experience Designers (Jill Arminio, Danielle Creamer, Tina Darling, Liz Dooley, Dan Little, Joe Muhlberg, Aaron Roberts, and Robyn Thomas)

The Learning Experience Coordinators will work alongside principals, learning experience designers, teacher leaders, deputy superintendent, and other key stakeholders, to embrace personalized learning in the classroom providing the necessary resources, supports, and leadership. The Learning Experience Designers are teachers on special assignment who will be embedded with a small cohort of teachers who will be embracing personalized learning. The learning experience designers will co-teach and co-plan with the personalized learning cohort.

“We are at the beginning of our journey towards personalized learning. As we embark on this next iteration of what learning will look like in Mason, we need a team of leaders who can support teachers taking risks while redesigning the learning experience for students. I am so very grateful that Amy, Krissy and Shanna will lead this effort,” said Cooper.

About Amy Brennan Brennan comes to Mason City Schools with nearly 15 years of educational leadership experience. Currently the director of secondary curriculum, instruction and assessment in the Oak Hills School District, she has also served as principal of Springmyer Elementary School, assistant principal of Oak Hills High School, and was a former social studies teacher. Brennan received her Master of Science in secondary education from the University of Pennsylvania, and her Bachelor of Arts in history and education from Swarthmore College. She anticipates completing Miami University’s Ed.D. program in 2021. She and her husband, Terry, reside in Cincinnati with their two children, Ellie (age 10) and Jack (age 7). In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and doing her best at the New York Times crossword puzzle.

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