Where the future begins

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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Chisholm Trail Middle School cheerleaders and members of the Northwest High School Sidekicks drill team greeted students and parents at last week’s Meet the Teacher nights at Seven Hills Elementary School in Newark.

Michelle Pawski

Principal Michelle Pawski tailored the event to align with the school’s theme this year – “Your future begins here.”

It’s just as true for Pawski as it is for the students. The 23-year educator was named to her first principal’s job by the Northwest school board Aug. 1.

“It’s been wonderful,” she said. “I could not ask for a better community. Everyone has been so welcoming. This is an exciting place to be.”

Pawski has worked in NISD for 13 years, serving last year as assistant principal at Sendera Ranch Elementary in Haslet.

Before transitioning into administration, Pawski was a campus instructional teacher at Sendera for two years and at Nance Elementary in Fort Worth for six years.

“I really feel at home at Seven Hills,” Pawski said. “When I was at the other elementary schools, we did a lot of partnering with Seven Hills, so I feel like I’ve known Seven Hills. It’s a great community to plug into. It’s a close, spirited community that pulls together for the kids of its school.”

She joined the district as a fourth-grade teacher at Haslet Elementary in 2001. Prior to a career in NISD, she worked in Weatherford and Huntsville school districts.

Pawski earned a master’s degree in elementary education/reading from the University of North Texas and has a bachelor’s degree in teaching from Sam Houston State University.

“I’ve been blessed with a variety of opportunities,” she said. “I did my student teaching in first grade, and I’ve taught up to sixth grade. I’ve taught in schools that have 95 percent and above on free and reduced lunch up to the upper-level schools with barely 15 percent on such plans and limited diversity.”

The range in experience is a strength she brings to the position.

“I feel I have a lot of assets to bring to get Seven Hills to the next level,” she said. “I want to build on the success that’s already in place to move forward.”

She specifically named the school’s instructional core and the systems in place to help meet the needs of students.

But before she looks to bring about any major changes, she first wants to take a step back and do an inventory of what Seven Hills has to offer.

“Right now, I’m mostly focusing on seeing the lay of the land,” Pawski said. “The school has made great gains in the last few years, so I need to see what’s working, take stock of what we have, look at our goals and see where we can make improvements.

“The theme will drive what we do,” she continued. “It’s all about getting these kids future ready – some for jobs that haven’t even been created yet. We’re teaching them to be innovative, invent different ways to do things that are already being done.

“We’ll start with getting to know the kids, teachers and community.”

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