Published August 21, 2019
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — With the first day of school just around the corner, Huckleberry Hill Interim Principal Melissa Wyland is ready to hit the ground running.
Wyland was appointed interim principal last May in the wake of former Huckleberry Hill Principal Brian Bemiss agreeing to become the next principal of Fisher Elementary School in Walpole. Prior to being appointed interim principal, Wyland taught first grade at Huckleberry Hill for 16 years.
“It’s an honor to be the interim principal for the 2019-2020 school year,” said Wyland in an email sent to the Villager. “I am very excited for the 2019-2020 school year to begin. I don’t think I will be able to sleep the night before our first day. I have always loved the excitement and promise a new school year brings and taking on this new role makes it even more exciting for me.”
Wyland said the two weeks prior to the start of school is “exciting as educators are swarming the school preparing for students’ arrival.”
“We look forward to greeting all of the students on the first day,” said Wyland. “Our goal will be that students leave the first day even more excited about the school year than when they arrived.”
Wyland said her main goals for the upcoming school year are “continuing the great work that has been done at Huckleberry Hill School while establishing strong relationships with faculty and families as the interim principal.”
“Building trusting relationships with families has always been important to me as an educator,” said Wyland. “It is powerful for our students to see parents/guardians, teachers and administrators working together to help them succeed. I have had the opportunity to meet with some parents during the summer. It has been a pleasure meeting with current families and meeting families that are new to Huckleberry Hill School. I look forward to meeting with parents during Kindergarten Orientation and during Open House. I plan on being visible and available to families before and after school. I will attend PTO meetings, school events and will hold monthly coffees about various school topics. I will communicate to families that I have an open door policy and am happy to talk with them about any issues and/or concerns they have.”
Wyland said she is looking forward to building relationships with students, many of whom she taught as their first grade teacher.
“I plan on spending much of my time in classrooms, sitting with students in the lunchroom, visiting on the playground and participating in arrival and dismissal to engage with students in a variety of settings,” said Wyland. “I look forward to having teachers send students to the principal’s office to share best effort work and/or other academic and social successes. I also plan on building relationships with students by showing them that I truly care about their school experience by being present, positive and fair. I will make sure that our students know that I believe in them, even when we are having difficult conversations.”
Wyland said she has received a tremendous amount of support from school officials and teachers since she was appointed interim principal in the spring.
“I am grateful for the guidance and support that the Administrative Leadership Team and curriculum directors have provided me during my transition,” said Wyland. “Every member of the team has gone out of his or her way to welcome me and offer help. Superintendent Jane Tremblay and Kevin Cyr, the director of Teaching and Learning, have ensured that I have what I need to be successful and encourage me to ask for help when I need it. The Huckleberry Hill staff has been extremely supportive and enthusiastic about my new role. They have been reaching out to me during the summer to offer encouragement and help during my transition.”
Over the course of the summer, Wyland has been meeting with school officials, School Resource Officer Alex Doto and staff members.
“Much of my time has been spent reviewing the district strategy, school improvement plans, curriculum expectations and creating my entry plan,” said Wyland. “In July, I had the opportunity to attend the National Principals Conference with my colleagues that was held in Boston. I am excited to share what I learned during the conference with our staff and school community. (Earlier this month), I attended a three-day ALT retreat to prepare for the school year.”
Wyland will be unveiling her entry plan during a School Committee meeting in September.
“I have developed an entry plan and look forward to sharing it with the School Committee in September,” said Wyland. “Initially, I will focus on observing everything at Huckleberry Hill School through the lens of a principal including but not limited to classroom settings, overall student programming, school culture, teaching and learning, parental involvement and community outreach. Another major part of my plan will be to build trusting relationships with students, staff, families and the Administrative Leadership Team so that we can collaborate to provide students with the best educational experience possible.”
Prior to being appointed interim principal, Wyland taught first grade at Huckleberry Hill for 16 years. She taught in Melrose for two years before coming to Lynnfield.
She received her master’s in Education from Lesley University and received her principal license in 2012.
Wyland noted Bemiss gave her some words of wisdom last week.
“Brian’s advice to me was to be myself, rely on and trust the expert staff around me, continue to build leadership capacity and to be visible and available to all,” said Wyland.