My name is Will Hampton, and I am excited to be the new superintendent of Marietta City Schools. Twenty years ago my wife and I settled in Marietta and decided to call it home. I first came to Marietta City Schools 11 years ago to serve as the high school assistant principal. Two and a half years later, I began my service as middle school principal. However, learning about me isn’t as important as learning about our schools and what we are doing for our community.

An Inside Look at Marietta City Schools District Each Month

On the final Saturday of each month, in Marietta and Beyond, you will be able to read our column which will give you a closer look inside of our schools and our district. We want you to understand what is happening in our schools, learn about our special offerings, our changes and our plans for the future, and meet the people who serve our community.

54 New Teachers This Year!

This is a year of unprecedented change at Marietta City Schools. In the fall of 2015, we are welcoming 21 new teachers and administrators as well as several new bus drivers and custodians. In fact, over the past three years we have hired 54 new teachers into our district, which is nearly one-third of our teaching staff. Many of these new hires are due to the changes in the retirement system. But this doesn’t begin to express the changes that we are experiencing at Marietta City Schools. While we will miss those who have retired, their legacies have fostered a positive energy in the district and an excitement for the start of the new school year.

These changes have brought some unique challenges. We suddenly have a huge leadership void to fill. This is tremendous, yet exciting for a couple of reasons. Our veteran teachers have never been more important. Many of our new hires are coming to us fresh out of school or with little or no experience and need our veteran teachers to step up and be leaders for our young teachers as well as our students. Our new teachers will need guidance and support as we begin our year and as they begin their careers. What makes this even more exciting is that I am looking forward to to seeing the impact of new ideas! So many fresh ideas and new perspectives are like a shot of adrenalin to our district. This is exciting for our future.

TAG Program Reinstated

We are also excited to announce that this year we’ve been able to reinstate the full-time talented and gifted — or TAG — coordinator position. Connie Wasco (who formerly taught eighth grade Social Studies) will facilitate the training and instruction of our staff to better meet the needs of our TAG population. Mrs. Wasco will develop educational plans, assist in the classroom, train staff with instructional strategies and begin to help develop the framework of our TAG program.

New Caring Program

Another big change at Marietta City Schools involves a new hybrid administrative position, Attendance and Student Services Coordinator. Lynn Doebrich holds this key spot in our district, which was formed by tying together funds from different sources, including grants. She will work closely with our students who struggle to get to school for a variety of reasons, assist our families that have very diverse and complicated needs and provide information and support to our teachers as well. The impact of having this position has already been felt within the district. On the very first day of school, Mrs. Doebrich reached out to students who were not present for opening day. We understand that meeting the needs of the student and family is critical for learning to take place, and we hope this position will help bridge those gaps.

Tremendous Tech Upgrades

Our changes go beyond our people. We have made tremendous upgrades in the technology options for our students. Marietta Middle and High Schools have both been the beneficiaries of the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium (YEC) grant. This grant, which was spearheaded by Tasha Werry and Ruth Kunze, has provided a boost of nearly $800K of improvements in technology and training to our middle and high schools. This was a long overdue upgrade.

Marietta City Schools Connect with You Online

Academic success is much more complicated than just than grades on report cards. We want to meet the needs of our students, our families and our community. Part of making this happen involves communicating with you in a variety of ways. In addition to the things you are used to, like “robo-calls,” every building in the district, as well as our central office, now has Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. We are working very hard to be more accessible. The response so far to the expansion of ways to send and receive information about Marietta City Schools has been overwhelmingly positive.