Mecum named interim principal at Dzantik'i Heeni

Morse's new job with Department of Education slated to begin this week

Posted: Sunday, July 06, 2003

Barb Mecum has been named interim principal at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School following the resignation of Les Morse.

Morse has taken the position of director of assessment and accountability at the state Department of Education and Early Development. He will begin this week.

Mecum has served as assistant principal at Dzantik'i Heeni, a 700-student school, for the past three school years. Before that, she taught English at Juneau-Douglas High School for a year, and English and history at Floyd Dryden Middle School for three years.

Mecum holds a bachelor of science degree in journalism from the University of Wyoming and master of arts degree in teaching from the University of Alaska Southeast. She has lived in Juneau since 1985.

Mecum became an administrator, she said, because "I've always wanted to make education work better for kids and school be more meaningful for students."

Mecum said she enjoys organizing schools.

"I can help a large bureaucracy work for students and for families. I really like organizing things. I like making large systems work well."

Mecum said she supports standards-based instruction and the accountability that goes with it. Besides the state standards, schools will be required to follow the new federal education law, the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates standardized testing and the use of highly qualified staff.

Juneau schools Superintendent Peggy Cowan appointed Mecum for the next school year while a formal search is made for a permanent principal.

Mecum accepted, she said, because "I know the building well, and I love working with the staff, and I really enjoy our kids, our students. I think the particular challenges of No Child Left Behind are daunting but exciting. I think there are a lot of pieces that need to come together for us to be in compliance, and we're already doing a great job."

Morse, a former high school teacher who was principal at Dzantik'i Heeni for five years, was out of town and not available for comment.

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