Patty Briggs, who will lead Edgewood-Colesburg Elementary School as principal, participated in a question-and-answer session with the Manchester Press as a way to introduce herself to the community.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background in education.
A: I have been active in education for several years. I graduated from the University of Dubuque with a degree in Elementary Education and a Reading Endorsement. I began teaching in Houston with my husband. In the large district, they moved the teachers where the numbers were high, so I taught fourth and third grades for one year and then two years in second grade. We moved back to Iowa and I began teaching seventh-grade reading and language arts at Starmont Middle School. I taught at the middle school level for nine years and then moved to the elementary and taught first/second grade. During that time, I earned my degree in Educational Leadership and Administration. I then worked for Grant Wood AEA as a literacy/school improvement consultant for four years. I returned to Starmont as an instructional coach and school improvement director. I continued my own learning and earned a Literacy Coaching certificate through the University of Northern Iowa. It was determined during that time that I would be a shared curriculum director for Oelwein and Starmont. I held this position for two years. I have spent the past two years as the elementary principal for Eagle Grove Community School District.
Q: What drew you to the Edgewood-Colesburg community?
A: I grew up in Manchester. Edgewood-Colesburg has a great reputation, one that has a strong sense of community and family. The school is an integral part of the community and its residents support the students in all areas, athletics, activities and most importantly academics. When I coached high school speech, I remember being impressed with how well the students and teachers represented the school. There is a great sense of pride. When I learned of the position, it was an opportunity I could not pass up.
Q: What are you most looking forward to?
A: I am most looking forward to meeting the students, families, and staff and developing relationships. It is exciting to be a part of the community and work together to guide our students to become independent and productive members of the community.
Q: What is your philosophy on discipline?
A: When it comes to discipline, I believe everyone needs to have clear expectations for behavior. As a staff, we need to ensure students have been taught what the expectations look like and sound like when put into action. As educators, we must be consistent in reinforcing these expectations. We are all human and make mistakes, and most importantly we need to learn from them. So, we would need to review expectations and what would make better choices moving forward. Obviously, there are consequences for misbehavior. Consequences will follow policies but also be logical to the mishap. I use love and logic frequently.
Q: Schools have undergone some unprecedented closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic which have impacted both students and staff in unique ways. What do you think it will look like when classes are eventually back in session?
A: I think it is hard to predict what school may look like in the fall. Social distancing requirements will influence decisions on transportation, lunch, recess, hallway interactions and the number of students in the classroom. In addition, we will have to discuss how we will promote keeping surfaces clean as well as handwashing for the students. Should there be a need to close schools again, ensuring we have a plan to meet the needs of all the students and provide distance learning will be another issue. I participated in some meetings with the staff and I am certain that I will be working with a dedicated staff and administration to make sure we are ready to meet our students’ needs.
Q: Anything else you’d like parents to know?
A: I want to thank everyone for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the community. I will begin working in Colesburg in July. I would love to meet you and your kiddo, so please feel free to stop in and visit anytime.