Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Features

August 16, 2011

New Paoli Principal hopes to build on solid foundation

Noteworthy Neighbor

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Reward for one’s investments is a goal often sought after, but having to wait for the payoff can often bring much sweeter results than ever expected.

There may be no greater example of patience for success than in the field of education, something David Morris, the new principal at Paoli Schools has learned repeatedly over the years. A native of south central Oklahoma, he has had a chance to try a little bit of everything in the learning environment, though his mission of improvement has remained steady in each job.

“To be an educator you have to have a passion for what you do,” said Morris, who was hired by the school board a little over a few weeks ago. “Any time you get to improve the learning environment, you’ve got successful students.”

Morris’ own education goes back to attending school at Vanoss up through high school and then earning his elementary language arts degree, art education degree and masters in education at East Central University. His jobs have included teaching 9th-12th grades in all subjects at Rolling Hills Hospital near Ada, 7th-12th grade art at the school in Byng, a number of years at Stratford and being principal at Bowlegs.

While Morris has enjoyed each of the positions he’s held over the years, he’s actually had his mind on Paoli for a while, partly from the reputation of those like Superintendent Rick Worden to the chance to grow in a more intimate environment. He’s carried over something he’s learned while in each job and plans to make improvements all around, including updating technology in areas like the lunch system as well as how students interact.

However, at the end of the day, he wants the students to not only see him as an authority figure, but someone they can trust and come to for all school needs. He said he has already been amazed at how close the community is to the school, remarking on how people from in town took their own time to come in and paint or repair things on campus before the new school year started.

“I think it’s important to show the students we are there for them,” said Morris, who will also teach art. “I’m not just a principal or disciplinarian, I hope we can get them there.”

Helping Morris blend into the Pug scene will be his own son Logan, 8, who has transferred over to the elementary school for classes. In the future, his son will be joined by his other child Wyatt, who will start pre-K next year.

Then again, Morris is not the only new educator in town and has entered the scene along with the new football coach Vince Fulks and English teacher Rebecca Jones.

Morris said working with the faculty and students makes it all worth it at the end of the day because of the relationships and the near family feeling. He also believes one of the best things about being an educator is seeing a student come back years later and express how much they appreciated the experience.

Morris’ wife Christy will continue to teach at Pontotoc Technology Center in Ada, but she will be there to help him be involved in anything community related that comes along. For those who want to wish the football team off to a good season they can join the family at the upcoming Meet the Pugs at the football field Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

“I have an open door policy here, parents need to know they are always welcome,” said Morris. “I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone, in fact I know we will do well.”

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