East County Principals Have a Lot in Common, Will Add a Great Deal to Their New Schools

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Carbon School District Press Release

Stacy Basinger and Dina Wise have a lot in common. Both taught for a long time at Wellington Elementary. Both taught upper and lower grades in that school. Both live in Miller Creek. Both women got their bachelors degrees from Utah State and their Masters from Southern Utah University. And with the appointment of Wise as principal to Bruin Point Elementary, both have the experience of being a principal at the district’s smallest school.

But the similarities don’t stop there. They are both committed to the communities they have served and are serving.

For Basinger, the chance to “return home” to Wellington as she said, is a great opportunity.

“Working at this school is a collaborative effort,” she said. “We want this to be a positive school and not focus on the negatives.”

With about 340 students returning to the school this year, the new principal sees this assignment as a good challenge for her.

“I will be at a school with about two and half times as many students as I did before,” she stated. 

As with the rest of the district’s administrators, the Professional Learning Communities movement is strong with her. 

“I want all the faculty to be concerned with all the kids in the school, not just with those in their grade level,” she explained.

She went on with some ideas she has about some new things the school will be doing. First, she wants to concentrate on character education, using John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success as a pattern.

“Student character is important and I also want to be sure there is more recognition for students in the school for the things they do,” she said. 

As with all educators, Basinger wants to improve the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) scores in the school.

“I want to see us use the best practices we can to make Wellington’s scores much better,” she stated.

When asked about how she felt about her two years at Bruin Point Elementary as principal, she said she owed the school and the people in East Carbon a debt.

“I think they taught me a lot more than I taught them,” she said. “I came out better because of it.”

For Wise, who takes over the leadership reigns at Bruin Point, that education process is just beginning, although she had a taste of what it was like as an intern principal at Wellington last year.

“I have to thank Seth Allred (who has gone on to Mont Harmon Middle School) for letting me see all aspects of the job,” she said. 

Wise already has done her time as a teacher with nine years at Wellington Elementary and four years at Pinnacle Canyon Academy Charter School.

Her introduction to the East Carbon community came fast as she worked along side the Carbon High Cheerleaders, Miss Carbon County and others at a fundraiser for the school put on by Miners Trading Post the weekend of East Carbon/Sunnyside Daze in July. 

“I met a lot of people and shook a lot of hands,” she said. 

The small size of the faculty, just six teachers, is new to her, but she sees the bonding between the entire staff as important. 

“Some of the faculty and I went on a hike recently up the mountain over there,” she said as she pointed out the window of her office. “We went for five hours and had a great time. I am thinking we ought to do that every month.”

With around 120 students this coming year, she sees the support the community gives to the school as a key to success. She also has the philosophy that if what is being done is working, why change it?

“There will be some new things going on such as Imagination Learning that will be brought into the the kindergarten and first grade and the district is also bringing the Chrome books down into the fifth grade so that the students are prepared when they go to middle school,” she said. “But I will be doing what I can to help the teachers. I am going to ask them ‘What do you need from me?'”

She said there are often surprises in education, like the time when she first started teaching kindergarten and put the class schedule on the board. One of the students asked a question about what they would be doing and she pointed to the schedule. “But teacher, we can’t read yet,” said the little boy. 

She said the point of it all is that learning is what is important and teaching is just part of the learning process.

“I could go home and use all my teaching skills to teach my dog how to whistle,” she said. “But would he ever learn to whistle? No. Learning is what we should be talking about.”

Both women look forward to the new school year, new challenges and the great success their schools will have in educating students.

Something else they have in common. 

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