Welcome OC’s new Principal Kathy Hollicker

Dear Open Classroom Community:

I am writing to introduce myself, give you a little information about my background and to say how

thrilled I am to join your community!

I am a progressive leader who has strong ability to assist teaching staff in the art and craft of

differentiating instruction and assessment to meet students’ needs. As a teacher for 14 years I

excelled in this area, and later as I moved into leadership positions, I found my ability to teach this

skill to others was exemplary. I believe that as Principal, I will become part of a dynamic team and

be an outstanding team player.

I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Maine in Orono with a

GPA of 3.97, a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development & Family Relations, Elementary Education,

and an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.

In the summer of 2014, I was an Instructor at the University of Maine in Orono in the Educational

Leadership Program teaching a Master’s Level Course entitled “Seminar in School Leadership.” I

was deeply honored to be part of teaching and mentoring the up-and-coming new leaders.

I have eight years experience as a school administrator. I was Principal at Rockland Middle School

in Rockland Maine, having this post for the last six years serving students in grades 5 – 8. I was

Assistant Principal for Farrington Elementary School in the Augusta Maine school district serving

grades K – 6, promoted the following year to Principal of the Hodgkins Middle School (Augusta)

serving grades 6 – 8 (6th grade moved up with me). I have been a teacher for grades 1, 4, 5, 6 7 & 8.

I have eight years of experience in interviewing, training, observing and evaluating students and

staff. I have worked with several brand new teachers coming directly from college into their first

teaching posts. My new teachers have all successfully moved from probationary status in two years

to continuing contracts, which is not an easy accomplishment these days.

As a reflective practitioner, one of my main responsibilities was to analyze student data from

multiple sources, consolidate this data into reports, and use the data to inform instructional

decisions and professional development needs of my staff. In the last five years, I created, with my

staff, improvement goals based on this analysis, and we witnessed our students make outstanding

gains. I was also responsible for collaborating with all the administrators in our district in creating

a district-wide set of goals and working on action plans together to realize these goals.

I have taught staff and colleagues in workshop formats on several subjects. One of the most recent

presentations I offered my colleagues utilizing PowerPoint was on the subject of helping our most

difficult children. My focus of this workshop was on brain function and how children have learning

difficulties, such as impulse control, focusing, or difficulty shifting attention, and what we can do in

the classroom setting to assist these students.

Another example as a reflective practitioner is when I first arrived at the middle school in Rockland,

we had well over 1⁄2 of each grade failing 3 or more classes at mid-year. That was absolutely not

acceptable, so I asked a lot of questions about what teachers felt contributed to this problem. Most

teachers felt the problem was students’ lack of motivation to do homework and classwork. I chose

two books (from Pink and Deci) for our staff to study together addressing the motivation issue. We

concluded that our practices needed to shift in order to engage our students more. We also added a

mandatory after school study hall for students whose grades began to drop or when teachers or

students felt the materials they were studying were confusing. By 2011 we had zero children failing

in any course mid-year. This to me is the proper use of data.

An example of my consensus leadership style is the first year we tracked behaviors at RDMS (my

second year) ended with 93 suspensions (25% of our student population that year) and 167 office

discipline referrals (45% of our student population that year). There were high level bullying

behaviors, and fights would break out in our hallways. The teachers were deeply concerned with

these numbers and asked if we could explore new ideas to address the preventative side of

discipline. I sent one teacher to take a course regarding PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention &

Support), which she gladly accepted. When this teacher finished the coursework on PBIS, we

discussed the critical need our school. We both presented to the staff and we decided to implement

the system. We made this our school goal, which meant all our resources went into training.

Three years later, we had transformed climate and culture where students and staff felt respected

and safe. We taught the students our expectations, and rewarded them when we witnessed it. We

increased our daily attendance from a low a few years back of fewer than 90% to our current

average of 94% or above. As of May 2014, we had only four suspensions (less than 2%) and 24

office discipline referrals (12%). Our bullying issues decreased as well. We instituted a very active

Civil Rights Team who worked hard with me to continue to reduce these incidents.

I believe in connecting with students. I built outstanding rapport with my students, and I

successfully earned their faith, trust and respect in me. I attach one of my student’s letters she

wrote as a testament of the view of me.

I am sensitive and responsive to the needs of my students. For example, for our students with

emotional disabilities and had the highest risk of failure, I worked with our community to begin a

Rowing Program. A local sea captain and I absolutely believed that we needed to build up these

students’ confidence and to give them something hard to accomplish. We created this

expeditionary learning program, and the success for the students was enormous. This program

started six years ago and is still going strong today. We have students who say they would’ve

dropped out of school had this program not been available.

Another year, I established a bike repair shop, which assisted a different set of students with

different learning styles and interests. This also was highly successful in building up the students

and keeping them in school.

All children deserve the chance to succeed, and I will stop at nothing to see to it that all kids have

opportunities that motivate and inspire learning!

I am a resilient, positive minded, cheerful upbeat person and find humor to be highly successful in

my dealings with children. I look forward to building outstanding relationships with my students,

families, staff, colleagues and community and am honored to join The Open Classroom. My

daughter has lived in Salt Lake City for the past several years and works as an RN at the University

of Utah Hospital in the Medical ICU, and I am so delighted to join her in beautiful Salt Lake. Each

and every time I’ve flown in to be with my daughter, I’ve said, “I’m home”, and now I really will be.

My beloved husband will remain in Maine for now and will join me later on.

Kindest Regards and see you soon,

Kathryn L. Hollicker

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