This week’s Five Questions With features the new Rock Springs High School Principal Annie Fletcher. Principal Fletcher started her work as the RSHS Principal this school year..
1.What experience do you bring to the position as the new principal at RSHS?
This is my 21st year in education, I bring to table 17 years of classroom experience with a variety of students and school setting. I also served as the assistance principal here at RSHS for 2 years and as principal of Lincoln Elementary for one year. I bring deep roots within the Rock Springs community, and sense of civic duty to do what is best for our community. I am hopeful that my strong work ethic, student centered heart and great support system will allow many amazing things to be accomplished here at RSHS.
2. Where are you from, and are you familiar with this area?
My Rock Springs roots are wide and deep.
My mother’s family is deeply rooted in the local mining community. My grandpa Kovach was the first in his family to be born in the United States, Reliance to be specific, his family immigrated to work in the coal mines. My Grandma Kovach (Moon) was raised on “silk stocking row” in Winton, WY where her father served as the mine boss. They continued to live, work and raise their 4 daughter in Rock Springs for their entire lives
My father’s family also has deep Wyoming roots, with my grandpa Kurtz’s family coming from the Sheridan Area and my grandma Kurtz (Bunning), being the only daughter of the Christian Bunning family, she and her 3 brothers Christian, Robert, John were all raised in the family house on Sherman street. My Grandma and Grandpa raised their four children on Number 1 hill, always welcoming which ever kid needed a safe place to be. As the family tree moves back yet another generation, you get to PC Bunning, former mayor of Rock Springs, known for such things as rerouting the Bitter Creek and making what is now Bunning park.
My parents moved back to Rock Springs with me in 1976 during the oil boom. They knew it was time to come home and be with family. With that I spent all of school years here, attending Lincoln Elementary, East Junior High and graduating from Rock Springs High School. They say history repeats itself, and in 2007 my husband, Andy, and 2 boys, Ian and AJ, moved back to Rock Springs so my husband could work for the family business, John Bunning Transfer. As a family, we are very active in the local soccer association and can be found supporting our kids at various events. My sister and her family have also returned to Rock Springs.
I believe that people need to not just be listened to, but to be heard. I make time not only for that, but to be open and honest with the reason things are the way they are. I try to always be open and friendly, so that if a difficult conversation has to happen later everyone know it is coming from that place of compassion. As an administrative team, we try to communicate through different avenues including Facebook, Schoolway and school messenger; but we know that the impromptu conversations are the way to get the information out there.
4. What’s the best way of communication for parents to contact you with concerns or issues?
I appreciate when parents try to teach their students to advocate for themselves. To that end, whenever possible, please have your student talk with the teacher or coach first, then as a parent contact the teacher or counselor. When the issue is bigger than this please call the office and leave a detailed message, or send an email to me email@example.com. Do not be surprised if I do not return the call until that evening or early the next morning, I spend my day with students and teachers and rarely behind my desk. If the issue is of an emergency nature – safety of a student or staff member; threats of violence please call the school immediately. Our office staff will pull me immediately and we will take action.
I also encourage parents to come to school events, back to school night; parent teacher conferences; and the like.
5. What inspired you to become a principal?
It may sound cliché, but I wanted to become a principal to impact our students and give back to the community that has given so much to me. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see”. I believe that education, paired with hard work, is the path to your dreams. My parents instilled in me at a young age that it is not things you have or the status you have reached that matter in the world. Your personal legacy is defined by how you treat others and how you find ways to support those around you.
I also believe that leading, is not about being “in charge”; but about supporting and working alongside my staff to reach a common goal. While at the elementary level I saw that the principal is truly like a second parent to everyone, the students, the staff and even the parents. I hope to bring that feeling of support, comfort and high expectations to the high school as well. I want the principal’s office to a place where if you need support you are welcome; where is you have made a mistake, you know there will be fair consequence, an opportunity to learn and a second chance.