Climbing the Education Ladder

From teachers to principals, many adjustments in staffing have caused two dedicated teachers to move up in the hierarchy of education.

The+300+hallway+is+home+to+several+English+teachers+at+DHS%2C+including+Mrs.+French.+Mrs.+McCauleys+old+classroom+was+located+in+the+adjacent+hall+that+joined+the+100+wing+and+the+300+wing+together.

Camryn Eveler

The 300 hallway is home to several English teachers at DHS, including Mrs. French. Mrs. McCauley’s old classroom was located in the adjacent hall that joined the 100 wing and the 300 wing together.

Camryn Eveler, Reporter

Mrs. McCauley (left) and Mrs. French (right) smile beneath their masks for a photo outside Mrs. French’s room in the 300 hallway. Both teachers have been at Dallastown the entirety of their teaching careers. (Camryn Eveler)

The students of Dallastown High School are usually familiar with the faces of the high school’s administration members. But within the past couple years, there have been several shifts with the building’s three assistant principal positions.

This year, students were welcomed back by a familiar face. One they may have known from the variety of English courses she has taught over the years, including Oral Comm, Public Speaking, English II (CCR and Honors), English III (CCR and Honors), and AP Lang.

Mrs. McCauley; English Teacher turned Assistant Principal.

“I sort of became interested in administration a few years ago, and I started a principal program through Penn State Harrisburg. Then through that process, I started exploring positions, and there was an opening here at the end of the last school year, and fortunately, I just was able to take on that position at that time,”  McCauley explained.

Before her switch from an educator to an administrator, McCauley had been a teacher for 15 years, and all of those years were spent at Dallastown.

I wanted to do more of that – collaborating with colleagues and helping to advance programs – and yet continue my work with students.”

— Mrs. McCauley

“I love working with students, I like working with teachers, and I was enjoying my role as department chair,”  McCauley said.  “I wanted to do more of that – collaborating with colleagues and helping to advance programs – and yet continue my work with students.”

As it happens, collaborating with colleagues and advancing programs are two of the things McCauley does best.

“I helped to develop – along with some other colleagues – the AP English Language and Composition course, and so I taught that too,”  she added.  “I felt like an assistant principal position would allow me to still interact with students and also to continue to interact with colleagues and improve programs and systems within our school, which I thought sounded really neat and a nice challenge and refreshing change for me.”

And according to McCauley, interacting with students is paramount among the many responsibilities of an assistant principal.

“Well, I think first and foremost, I support students, so that would be my number one goal is to support students in various kinds of situations and capacities. And also to be a leader within the building and help to stay current with educational trends and what’s happening in the world of education, so that I can be a resource and a support for teachers as well.”

Supporting her fellow teachers is a trend McCauley has been familiarized with as the English Department Chair, a position she held over the last five years. But since McCauley moved into the administration, the English Department needed a new leader. Mrs. French stepped up.

“When Mrs. McCauley was hired for the assistant principal position, there was an application and interview process for any interested department members,”  French explained.

“It was a decision I weighed very heavily and relied on many conversations with many people, most importantly, my husband. Ultimately, I decided to submit my application because I love working with other teachers – helping them pursue new curriculum, new approaches to current curriculum, professional development opportunities, etc.”

McCauley’s successor has been teaching for 17 years, and – like McCauley – all of French’s years have been at Dallastown.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to complete my student teaching here in the spring of 2004 with Mrs. Amy Anderson!”  French added.

Since then, French has been a familiar face in the Dallastown English Department.

She’s taught many courses, but this year, she only has Honors English I, English III, and American Literature to deal with. And on top of that, there’s Department Chair responsibilities. And on top of that, French is also the co-Senior Class Advisor.

And on top of everything else, there’s a pandemic.

“Because of COVID, this year has obviously had an added layer of difficulty for everyone. I do spend many evenings and weekends writing emails or grading, but that isn’t out of the ordinary for teachers in normal conditions. The duties of department chair come in waves: It can be somewhat calm for a little while and then there seem to be ten tasks to do at once!”  French exclaimed.

And those tasks can manifest in multiple different forms, according to French.

“My main role is to be a liaison between administration and the department and to facilitate curricular endeavors. We meet as a department regularly, either in small groups or as one large group. In the spring, I’m also responsible for determining each English teacher’s schedule for the following year. Overall, I hope that I serve as a support system for each of my department members.”

I feel so fortunate that we were able to come back in person because that’s what makes my job fulfilling – interacting with students every day.”

— Mrs. French

Both McCauley and French are immensely dedicated to their roles for the 2020-2021 school year. Their “behind the scenes”  contributions help the school to work a little smoother, and they are willing to give up their own personal time for the sake of supporting others.

“I love the amount of variety that I have right now, and different types of projects and working with many different students and many different teachers. I just love that every day is totally different,”  McCauley remarked with a smile beneath her mask.

“My favorite part of my job is definitely working with students,”  French reflected as well.  “I feel so fortunate that we were able to come back in person because that’s what makes my job fulfilling – interacting with students every day. I have also really enjoyed helping my department in a different way this year; I look forward to seeing what is in our future.”