by Lisa Tome
There are two new sets of eyes looking at Thomson Estates Elementary School.
And so far, they like what they see.
The school has both a new principal and assistant principal who are preparing for the new school year.
Long Island New York native Matt Stephen is the school's new principal. Meghan Brown, a graduate of Cecil County Public Schools, is the assistant principal.
Stephen, who earned his master's degree at Long Island University, came to Cecil County following September 11, 2001. "We wanted a better place to live. My sister-in-law lived in Delaware. There was an opening in Cecil County and I fell in love with the place," said Stephens, who taught in New York and Delaware prior to taking the job here. In 2003, he started his career with CCPS, teaching second grade at Leeds Elementary. He then served as Local Support Teacher in Chesapeake City, and assistant principal at both Rising Sun Elementary and Holly Hall. He will start his principal career at Thomson Estates.
"I'm excited. I really am. I can't wait until August. I want to see the students. One of my strengths is building relationships with kids," said Stephen.
He said he plans to be an active and hands-on administrator. He plans to build relationships in the school and community and use educational data to help drive instruction.
"There are good things that happened before I got here. Thomson is a good school and I want to continue that," he said. "I am not satisfied with staying on par. I want to make it better."
It will be a busy summer. The school is undergoing renovations and security upgrades. There are also three staffers to hire.
"I'm excited. We are looking forward to a brand new school year. I can't wait to get started. I want to see the kids come in and get things started," he said.
He is also thrilled with Brown being chosen to work with him.
"Meghan is an awesome choice. We have two sets of new fresh ideas," he said.
Brown graduated from Elkton High and Salisbury University. She then earned her master's degree from McDaniel College.
She taught at both Chesapeake City and Kenmore elementary before being named Local Support Teacher at Chesapeake City Elementary. She spent the last four years as assistant principal at Elk Neck Elementary before taking the post at Thomson Estates.
Brown said she had hoped to be assigned to a Title I school because of the challenges posed working in that environment. "At a Title I, there are different opportunities for staff and students. Not more, different," Brown said.
Brown grew up in a large family. One of her favorite pastimes was playing school. "I used to play school in my bedroom with stuffed animals," she laughed.
Her strengths lie is her ability to boost morale and bring in new activities. She is already planning a Veterans Day program. She also wants to foster partnerships within the community.
"It's exciting to have two new staff (leaders). The two of us coming in will do a lot of observing. Then we will create a mission and vision together. That will make for a powerful, effective team," she said.
"I was so excited to hear I was going to work with Matt (Stephen). I think I'll learn a lot from him," said Brown.
And like her fellow administrator, she can't wait for the new school year. "I'm in this to make a difference. I want kids to walk into this building everyday smiling," she added.