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Getting to know Mr. Meier

As Dr. Banbury leaves Oakton, a new (interim) principal is roaming the halls

Rebecca Woodhouse, Feature Editor

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Former Robinson principal Dan Meier seems to be fitting into his role as interim principal at Oakton just fine. After Dr. Banbury left his role as principal of OHS during spring break to move up to the role as Executive Principal in the FCPS Region 1 office, there was a vacancy in the school administrators that Mr. Meier came to fill.

The selection process for choosing a new principal isn’t a quick process, so even though Dr. Banbury gave a heads up before moving on to his role as Executive Principal, there wasn’t enough time to find someone to fill his role right away. The first step is talking to the faculty and the community to figure out what qualities people would like to see in the new principal. The next step is to conduct interviews with possible candidates, using questions based off the information received from the community feedback in what qualities to look for.  Usually, a panel consisting of around three teachers, three parents, and often a junior student, principal of nearby high school spend a day listening to candidates answer interview questions. Based off the interviews, the potential candidates are narrowed down and a couple people are called back for a second interview. For the second round of interviews, the superintendent is also listening, and ultimately makes the decision of who the new principal should be.

Throughout this process, a retired principal is called in. For Oakton, this meant a visit from Mr. Meier.

However, this isn’t Meier’s first time as a substitute principal for a school in Fairfax County. “Typically, I spend the time between the previous principal leaving and the selection of the new principal,” said Meier. He has previously been at Herndon, Woodson, Madison, along with four or five middle schools. After being a substitute principal at multiple schools, Meier has been able to see how great many of the Fairfax County public schools are.

As of right now, Mr. Meier has the same responsibilities as any normal principal would have, which include dealing with any discipline issues, helping with any major decisions,and getting staff prepared and hired for next year. Of course, Meier mentioned, “we have many assistant principals who have already been working on these things, but as principal I’m here to help make the final decisions.”

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But why would anyone want to be a principal? “I’ve always loved working in a school and being around young people. It’s never been a job to me because I love being around young people and seeing them interact in classrooms and hallways and the cafeteria,” said Meier. Since Mr. Meier has spent the majority of his life within schools as either an administrator, teacher, or student, it’s a good thing that he enjoys it.

As a matter of fact, starting out Meier just wanted to be a teacher. He was a football coach for 17 years, while being a history teacher and then moving on to be a guidance counselor. Through these jobs, Meier was able to learn that, “the best job is working directly with the students.” Meier reflects on these times fondly, and is glad that the majority of his career was spent as a teacher and counselor.

However, as time went by Meier started to notice many of the principals he had looked up to start to retire, and people from his generation started to step up to fill that role. After being counselor, Meier was Director of Student Services, then assistant principal, then principal at Rocky Run Middle School, and then spent 10 years as principal at Robinson. Something that Meier has noticed is that, “the principal can do a lot to set the tone for the school”. Whether this be making the learning environment fun, happy, or challenging, the principal can really influence the way a school works.

When asked about the similarities and differences between Oakton and Robinson, Meier stated, “I think that the two schools are pretty similar.” Since Mr. Meier has only been at Oakton for a couple of weeks at this point, he is still figuring out some of the ways that Oakton is unique. However, Meier has noticed that the students at Oakton are very engaging. “They will come up to me and introduce themselves, which doesn’t happen everywhere,” remarks Meier.

A message that Mr. Meier would like to share with everyone would just be to enjoy the fourth quarter. “You are in a great school, having a great school year. Dr. Banbury has put 13 years of his life into this place, trying to make it a wonderful school and I think he has succeeded in doing that, “ said Meier.
Even if he’s just here through the fourth quarter, the Oakton community looks forward to getting to know Mr. Meier while the new principal is being decided upon.

 

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