On Tuesday, July 30, faculty and staff of Daleville City Schools kicked off a new school year with the introduction of new staff and faculty in the school system and messages of welcome from administration.
Daleville High School Principal Josh Robertson welcomed all the faculty and staff of DHS and DCS back for another school year.
“Welcome back,” he said. “I know we’re all excited and ready to get started. We’ve worked hard all summer, getting things ready and just making sure we’re going to have a great school year. It’s good to see all of you, and welcome back.”
Windham Elementary School Principal Chris Mitten followed Robertson in welcoming faculty and staff, sharing inspiring words he heard from Dr. Joe Sanfelippo, an educator and author who speaks about leadership in education.
“There were two things he said that really stood out to me,” Mitten said. “One of them was that there is a big difference between being proud of the work and defending the work. So often, we have to defend what we’re doing, when in fact, we should be proud of what we’re doing.
“The second thing was, ‘Be the teacher that your students tell their kids about.’”
Transportation Director Ted Folsom also welcomed teachers and faculty back to work.
“We’re glad you’re here,” he said. “Just know how important your roles are with the education of the kids all the way through. It starts at Windham, moves to the high school, and then before long, they’ve graduated and moved on and you’ve got the next group coming.
“Let’s just make this the best year we’ve had.”
New Superintendent Dr. Lisa Stamps closed the event with motivational words for the current school year.
“I believe, when you work as a team, you can get a lot more done than just one person,” she said. “We’re the Daleville family. We’re going to work together, and we’re going to use each other’s strengths and talents and interests to make this school system the very best that it can be.
“I see a lot of promise and potential. I have a lot of faith that things are going to be great.”
She said she hopes the system provides “a happy place” for students.
“I know that’s not the goal of education, but they need to feel happy, safe and secure when they’re under our roof,” she said. “If they feel like they don’t have one person that can be their mentor and be their advisor and go to bat for them and be their advocate, then they’re just wandering in a room. I don’t want our kids to wander. I want them to have a place to belong.”
Stamps encouraged the faculty and staff to “give it their all” and hold true to their highest standards, like with their communication.
“I want all of us to commit to being each other’s advocate,” she said. “It’s so important for me that every single person protects each other. We don’t need enemies from without if we’re going to be enemies from within.
“I’m going to pray the Lord’s protection over us every single day, but I’m also going to pray and hold you to a high standard of lifting each other up.”
She also brought a new motto to the DCS family as a way to motivate them for the school year.
“I just want to say, as I’m learning about the Wiregrass, I’m learning about the Warhawks, too,” she said. “I want to, somewhat, rebrand our system with the phrase, ‘We are Warhawks, and We Will Rise.’”
She said wants the system, the students and all others to “rise” this year before encouraging them to “think big,” stating that many of the big thinkers of history and many careers of today would not exist if not for the big thinking of educators.
She presented three “guidelines” to help DCS faculty and staff think big: use their powers for good, follow the Golden Rule and love their work.
“Today, I leave you with these three things to think big in several ways as we start the school year,” she said. “When we all in this room think big, we will rise. We will rise and accomplish great things. We will rise and our students will feel that somebody does, indeed, love them, care about them, and they will be happier for it.”
She continued with encouragement to lift each other up throughout the school year.
“I look forward to a wonderful 2020 school year, working together,” Stamps said. “As we think big, we will rise.”