SSD welcomes two new principals
This year, all of the fourth through sixth-grades will be at Meadow View School, located on Paiute Lane. All of the kindergarten through third-grade classes will be at McKinley School, located on Fourth Street.
Diamond View School, which serves students in the seventh through eighth-grades, will be held at Meadow View School with Patty Gunderson continuing to serve as Diamond View’s principal. All Susanville School District schools begin on Monday, Aug. 25.
Wix recently moved to Lassen County from Vacaville and has been in administration for 12 years. She most recently served as principal of a kindergarten through sixth grade school in the Davis Unified School District.
She said being the principal of a kindergarten through third grade school will be different, but not necessarily more difficult or easier.
According to Wix, more than 500 students ages 4-1/2 to 9 years old will be on McKinley’s campus, which she said will make for a busy crowd.
With a younger age group, Wix said students are open to learning anything and everything. She expects less discipline and more parental involvement because the younger the student the more involved parents tend to be.
Having the different age groups on separate campuses will provide the principals a narrower focus group.
Leitaker said she is looking forward to doing more activities directed toward the specific age groups, finding more age-appropriate assemblies and focusing on what students in the fourth through sixth grades specifically need as opposed to the needs of a kindergarten through sixth-grade school as a whole.
Leitaker has been in education for 18 years. This year will mark her first year in administration.
Born and raised in South Dakota, Leitaker earned her business degree at Black Hills State University. She became interested in teaching when she volunteered in her daughter’s classroom when she moved to Lassen County 20 years ago.
Leitaker earned a multi-subject credential from California State University, Chico and a supplementary authorization in business.
She taught at Shaffer School for seven years before teaching in the Susanville School District.
While spending most of her time teaching at McKinley, Leitaker also filled in as vice principal for Bishop and Gunderson. Leitaker said she loved it and went on to earn her master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Wix, who was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, has been in education for 33 years teaching in Cleveland, Florida and six Germany.
She became vice principal and eventually principal in the Fairfield Suisun School District before serving as principal at Davis Unified School District.
Wix said she has continued in education because there is nothing like watching a young child develop academically and socially and following their progress throughout the years knowing somehow, someway you’ve touched them.
As she begins her first year in the SSD, Wix said she is looking forward to getting to know the community, students, families, and staff and being able to support those people as they do their very best in whatever role. She also wants to encourage people and as they take risks and try something new.
Leitaker said she is looking forward to the collaboration of teachers and staff and bringing people together to support the needs of the community they serve.
She said the district’s administration, which also includes SSD Superintendent Gary McIntire, Assistant Superintendent Linnea Vanderville and Gunderson, are working collaboratively together to make SSD the best and are meeting regularly to discuss different topics.
Both Wix and Gunderson said they hope parents will be more involved than ever. They also want to strengthen the Parent Teacher Association and to have collaboration between the three schools.
Leitaker said, “We are working together and working with families and welcome family involvement.”
She said families are welcome and encouraged to visit the classroom and tour the campus facilities.
Wix said it is an honor to be given that much time with the students and encourages open and honest communication between parents and school staff.
She said the students should know parents and teachers are working together to help them grow into their highest potential.
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