Introducing ISD 197's New SuperintendentDr. Allen-Mastro brings many ideas and talents to ISD197, and she is also a great listener. We talked with her about her plans for the district and her point of view on the future of public education.
By: Mikaela Rogers Ziegler, Sibley Scribe
Some of you have probably seen her at Sibley plays and events. Some have heard of her and some of you may have even talked to her. The district has a new superintendent this year and she is more than making her rounds. Dr. Nancy Allen-Mastro comes to us from Bloomington, but she has worked all over the state, first as a teacher, then as a principal, later as a curriculum director and assistant superintendent, and now as our superintendent. She took time out of her busy schedule to talk with us about her plans for the district and where see sees public education going.
Dr. Allen-Mastro describes her first few months on the job as going “really well”. She has been everywhere – at district meetings, at games, at plays, etc. One of her goals as superintendent was to pull back the curtain on school administration, be a visible part of the community, and have established relationships with people all over the district. She has made herself visible and available, from informal meetings with teachers to the hallways and the lunchroom of Sibley. She particularly appreciates our district’s diversity and our innovative community spirit.
Along with admiration for the district, Dr. Allen-Mastro has some serious goals coming into the job. Her main focus seems to be on the students, emphasizing student success across the board and not just on standardized tests, and the ideal that education doesn’t end when you graduate. She wants to add more opportunities for students to earn college credit. With that she hopes to present more challenging and engaging learning for the students who really want it. But she doesn’t just have plans for the students. She spoke about truly analyzing why we teach what we teach and using tools such as technology to really enhance learning, not just make it look better. In a perfect world she imagines all students finding their niche and learning for learning’s sake. She envisions an individualized educational model with all students held to high standards and with all students proudly showing off what they know.
Now, being who I am, I couldn’t hesitate to ask her about the elephant in the room: our district’s budget. I was pleasantly surprised with the answers I got. Stability was her main focus. If the district was financially stable, the rest could be worked on. She brought up the extremely practical and smart idea of creating a safety net for emergency situations. And when we do have money, to spend it wisely by researching an idea before we invest in it. Whether it’s her more than 31 years of experience in education (22 years of administrative experience), her passion for leading and learning, her overall personality and drive, or one of her many innovative ideas, Dr. Allen-Mastro is sure to take this district to great places.