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Veteran educator MariAnn Arnold believes in meeting children where they are. In her 21 years in education, she has witnessed that every child can learn and progress when needs are met individually.
Arnold brings those educational philosophies to her position as Taylorsville Elementary School’s new principal and replaces former principal Chuck Abell, who left TES for his current position as Spencer County Schools’ Assistant Superintendent.
Arnold comes to the district following a long career with Oldham County Schools. Most recently she served as the Oldham County Board of Education’s Special Education Services Coordinator. She also served as Locust Grove Elementary’s principal from 2008-2012, Camden Station Elementary’s principal from 1999-2008 and prior to that she taught various elementary grades and has experience as an instructional coordinator.
She has only had a couple of weeks to delve in at TES but is already complimentary of the teachers, staff and community. Arnold said it was easy for her to determine what TES stood for after meeting many of its faculty and staff.
“In this school, kids come first,” Arnold said, noting that she also loved the community and looked forward to meeting more students in the coming weeks.
TES Site-Based Decision Making Council parent member Mindy Druin said Arnold clearly stood out in the applicant pool of approximately 13 candidates.
“When she would answer the questions, you could tell there was heart behind her answers,” Druin said.
Druin said Arnold was warm-hearted and had extensive professional experience. She said one aspect of the interview process that stood out to her was that Arnold was the only candidate that, when asked, had questions about the district.
“Of all the applicants we interviewed, she was the only one who asked us about TES,” Druin said. “She asked me as a parent why I sent my child to that school.”
Arnold recognizes that Abell was an extremely well-liked and successful principal at TES. The school made notable gains on state assessments under his leadership and Abell strived to improve TES’ culture and climate. Arnold said she’s not looking to reinvent the wheel as TES principal – she wants to keep it rolling with the momentum Abell started.
“My position is not to come in and change everything,” she said, noting that TES has many great practices and programs in place to ensure student success.
Arnold said she would work to see that education is child-centered and that the faculty and staff collaborate to create the best environment to facilitate student learning and achievement. She also plans to focus heavily on parent involvement in hopes to get more parents taking part in their child’s education.
“Parents are very much welcome here,” she said. “Our doors are open. My doors are open. We are here not only for the children but for the families.”
TES SBDM parent member Becky Goins said during the interview process she was impressed with Arnold’s interest in TES.
“She had done her research on our school and wants to continue our school going in the right direction,” Goins said.
Goins described Arnold as passionate and student centered.
“She just really seemed like she had everything we were looking for. Not just with the kids, but how she was interacting with the staff as well and the parents,” she said.
Arnold said interaction will be a huge portion of what she does on a day to day basis. Visibility is important to Arnold and she described herself as someone who could not stand to sit behind a desk all day. She said she would visit classrooms, interact with children and parents and be as available as her schedule would allow.
“My door will be open all the time unless I’m in a meeting,” she said.
Arnold’s academic background includes earning her Rank I Administrative Certification at the University of Louisville; U of L’s gifted endorsement; a Master of Science degree from U of L in reading specialist; and a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
She chose her career in education more than 20 years ago because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of children. Growing up in a home as the oldest of six children, Arnold said she was often charged with caring for the younger siblings.
“I was relied on a lot,” she said.
Arnold is married to Craig Arnold and is the mother of three children, two sons, 21 and 17, and a daughter, 15. Her family resides in Oldham County. She said she and her husband are considering moving to Spencer County after all their children complete high school. She said living in Oldham County will not stop her from being present at after-school functions and school-related community events.
For now, Arnold is looking forward to the first day of school when she can welcome many of her students for the first time.
“I am here for everybody. I want to be making a difference.”