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Meet Mrs. Olson, Wheelock's New Principal

Countdown to School: 1 Day. Here is a Q&A with Mrs. Donna Olson, Wheelock's new principal. Mrs. Olson will hold assemblies this week to introduce herself to Wheelock students.

Mrs. Donna Olson is the new principal at the Ralph Wheelock Elementary School

Patch recently spoke with Mrs. Olson (who grew up on an apple farm in Rhode Island) to welcome her to Wheelock. 

What is your background in education?

  • I have been a life-long educator. I spent over 30 years as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and principal in Rhode Island. I also worked in Norton (Mass.) in the 1980s.

How will these experiences help you as the principal of Wheelock?

  • Wheelock is involved in many of the same initiatives we were addressing in Rhode Island-- 21st century skills, bringing technology to the classroom, professional learning communities and aligning curriculum with the Common Core Standards. My experience with these initiatives will allow me to assist the teachers as we implement similar goals in Medfield.

What led you to a career in teaching and administrative work?

  • I always loved children and I wanted to work with children.  I was a teacher leader in my previous district and was encouraged to become a principal. Becoming an administrator seemed like a natural progression in my career.

What are you looking forward to at Wheelock?

  • I am looking forward to getting to know the staff, children and families this year.

What improvements do you plan to make at Wheelock?

  • Wheelock is a wonderful school. There are great things happening there for the children. I plan to do a lot of observing in my first months. I want to listen to the staff and parents and hear about any concerns they may have, as we collaborate on any improvements that we may determine are needed.

How do you plan to connect with students, faculty, and the Wheelock community?

  • Communication is key.  Wheelock already is a warm and nuturing environment. I am scheduling "Meet the Principal" assemblies with the students on Wednesday and Thursday. I want to spend some time with the children in smaller groups to have the opportunity to introduce myself to them and allow them to get to know me a bit as we start the new school year. I have told many of the second graders I've met that I am new too, and we will learn all about Wheelock School together. I have many meetings scheduled with various stakeholders. I also plan to use the newsletter and the website to share information with the families and community.

What do you think of education today?

  • Education is changing at a fast pace. It's very exciting. There has been a significant increase in the academic rigor of curricula. The expectations we have today for second and third graders are very diffferent than when I began teaching. We are preparing children to compete in a global economy and it is important that the boys and girls are well prepared for the future. At this level we are trying to inspire a love of learning, as we teach to high standards.

More From Mrs. Olson

  • I was born and raised in Smithfield, RI. Smithfield is referred to as "apple country" and I was born and raised on an apple farm. My family ran a pick-your-own business for over 50 years until my parents' retirement. I am married. My husband is a physical science and chemistry teacher in Massachusetts. My only son is a college student in Boston. My interests include reading, theater, listening to all kinds of music, biking, skiing, and the beach.

Join Patch in welcoming Mrs. Olson to Medfield.  Do you have any questions for her?  Words of advice?  Tell us in the comment box below. 

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