When school starts this Friday, new people will occupy the top three administrative positions in the Ramsey Community School District.
At the helm of the district will be Superintendent Melissa Ritter. She’ll be joined by High School Principal Ginger Edwards and Grade School Principal Sterling Montgomery.
All three have considerable teaching and administrative experience, but will be taking a step up in their new positions.
Though Ritter is a 14-year veteran of the district, the head spot will be new to her. She previously served two years as grade school principal, two years as grade school assistant principal and 10 years as district technology coordinator. Prior to coming to Ramsey, she taught business at Pinckneyville Community High School.
She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in workforce education and development from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She also earned her principal’s certificate and an educational administration specialist certificate from Eastern Illinois University.
“It’s a good time for everyone to start fresh,” Ritter said. “Though it’s a huge change to have three new administrators, we’ll be fine. We work well together, and we hope that our teamwork gets passed on to the teachers and students. This is a great small school district, and a lot of good things are happening. We want to share the positives when the students do something good.”
She said that a “Back to School Night” is planned for Thursday, Aug. 25, from 5-7 p.m. Parents and students will be treated to hot dogs, chips and soft drinks, and also will get to hear the three new administrators talk about their goals for the coming year.
Edwards began teaching 11 years ago as a special education consultant and teacher in Vandalia, and then moving to a variety of positions at the Alternative Education Program. There, she served as a teacher at the FOCUS Safe School, also in Vandalia, advancing to site program director in 2007 and dean of students in 2008.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in special education at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville and a master’s degree in educational administration from Eastern Illinois University.
“I think it’s very important to build relationships with the kids,” Edwards said. “And we also want to involve the parents.
“I know our teachers are getting excited about all the changes as they’re preparing for the new school year. When we have changes like this, it can be very invigorating.”
Montgomery comes to Ramsey from Oakwood Grade School, where he served as assistant principal, athletic director and technology coordinator for the past seven years. Prior to that, he was a seventh-grade teacher and coach at Cerro Gordo Middle School and an eighth-grade teacher at Waterloo Junior High School.
He holds bachelor’s degrees in history and middle school education from Illinois State University, and a master’s degree in educational administration from Eastern Illinois University.
“At the grade school, I’ve already been impressed with the way the teachers work together,” Montgomery said. “We want to communicate to the students and community that good things are going on here.”
The grade school (Pre-K through eighth) should have about 375 students, while the high school should have about 130, Ritter said.
A teachers institute day will officially kick off the school year this Thursday, with the students coming to school from 8-10 a.m. on Friday. Monday will be the first full day of classes.