Stepan takes over as Malone Intermediate principal
The 2018-2019 school year in Prescott will mark the first time the school district has had a full-time principal at both Malone Elementary and Malone Intermediate schools.
"We believe having a dedicated principal at each building is an important step forward to provide effective leadership and address the core experiences we wish to provide for our students, families and staff," said Prescott Superintendent Dr. Rick Spicuzza.
New Malone Intermediate principal Donita Stepan couldn't be more excited to once again have direct contact with students, which she has missed since she moved into an administrative role over 15 years ago.
"I was afforded the opportunity to be the intermediate school principal while our principal went on leave. It was really the first time I was in a principal position and I just loved it. It was sort of transformational for me," Stepan said. "After I was done with that, I thought 'why am I doing this work when I can do this work?' So I applied for Prescott and got the job."
Stepan started her teaching career as a middle school reading teacher in Buffalo, Minn., before teaching at Simley High School for seven years. She became the literacy coach and district literacy coordinator in the South Washington County School district in Cottage Grove. Before taking the job in Prescott, Stepan was the Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment in Byron, Minn.
"My first year here isn't really about making any changes as much as it is about getting to know people and getting to know how things run. I want to get a handle on what's working and what people believe we need to be working on," Stepan said. "I am a firm believer that a school is a community and we are all in it together to try and build that community. You really don't want somebody coming in and tell you what they want to do that is all about their agenda. You want to ask about what we want to do as a community and what we want to build."
Stepan has a son, Zach, 24, who recently got his first teaching job teaching physics at Byron High School.
"In addition to wanting to be closer to home, being along the river was important to me. Prescott is a great small town atmosphere, a beautiful place to live and be around," Stepan said. "So far, it has been an incredibly welcoming community. I got to know a lot of people and people are pretty excited to have a principal in place. I think people are finding out having one principal for the intermediate school and one for the elementary school helpful as well, since that is new this year."
Stepan said she likes to spend her free time at her cabin up north, reading, watching movies and playing with her dog, Cubby.
"Our work this year is just going to be a focused and intentional effort to improve student learning around reading, math and writing. We will have focused discussions and professional development around those areas and continue to work to improve student learning for our kids," Stepan said.