'New' Principal returns to head Llewellyn Elementary
When students returned to Llewellyn Elementary School in Westmoreland this fall, they were greeted by a new Principal – Pam Gwynn.
While she is now the "new" Principal at Llewellyn, Gwynn does knows the school well, having served as Assistant Principal there three years ago.
"Things change at Portland Public Schools – where I've been an educator for 32 years – and I was placed at Mt. Tabor Middle School, where I stayed for two years and learned a lot, and I got to go to Japan with the eighth-grade Japanese Research Residency Program – which was amazing," Gwynn told THE BEE.
Although she's taught at a number of different schools in the district, her career started here, in Inner Southeast Portland, after earning her Masters degree, with a focus in reading instruction – teaching second through fifth grades. She stayed at Creston Middle School for a total of 25 years, Gwynn recalled.
Keys to a good school
"As the leader of this school, one of my goals is to establish a school culture of excellence, in teaching and learning," Gwynn said. "There is a big focus on making sure that all students are prepared for post high school and life in general. So, we want to make sure students who leave Llewellyn are prepared to be great global citizens, with the ability to work with others; to think critically, to problem solve, and all those kinds of things.
"Our 'Equity Focus' is also important," Gwynn continued. "This is making sure that we are connecting and developing relationships with each and every one of our students, and connecting their backgrounds and cultures to what we're doing here in school."
She wasn't randomly assigned to Llewellyn, Gwynn said. "I love the parents here; and how the neighbors and businesses around our school are super supportive. We have these wonderful people who volunteer in our school, supporting us with volunteers, funds, and resources. It really does 'take a village' to make a school great."
"I'm looking forward most to being with the kids; I love the elementary years, and this is where I feel I have my strengths," Gwynn revealed. "I love watching their 'a-ha moments' in the classroom."
Filling Galati's shoes
Asked about her thoughts on following a popular Principal like Joe Galati, Gwynn smiled broadly and said, "I have 'big shoes' to fill; and, at the same time, I am excited because he 'set the stage' for really great work in learning, teaching, and connecting with the community and students.
"Joe is my friend, and I feel so fortunate to follow someone who was my mentor for being a Principal,' Gwynn added. "I know he's still behind me 100%; someone I can call on and ask a question, and he'll be right there to answer a text, phone call, or e-mail.
"I hope to do Joe proud by continuing what he's done here."
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