New Leadership: Amy McAnarney Moves Into Head Principal Role at Free State


Evan White

Moving from assistant to head principal at Free State, Mrs. Amy McAnarney is excited for her 8th year in the building.

Alicia Narum

Free State’s new Principal, Amy McAnarney, is fired up for this school year. After Myron Graber’s retirement last year, former Vice-Principal McAnarney was selected to become the school’s Principal. This year, McAnarney aims to increase student and staff engagement through new leadership opportunities and positive reinforcement. McAnarney also hopes to increase students’ academic achievements by providing students with more individual learning opportunities.

As many students have noticed, part of this plan includes the new schedule and the Educated Learning Time [ECT]. Replacing last year’s Independent Learning Time [ILT] schedule, this schedule aims to provide students with a bit more structure.

“Last year we struggled so much with students not going to class,” McAnarney said. “We had a very disappointing amount of students who failed classes last fall and then last spring was honestly even worse. We’re hoping that this new schedule, where it’s a little bit more structured…will contribute to some better grades and attendance”.

Unlike ILT, students are not allowed to leave the classroom unless they have received a pass from a teacher, or are going to join the offered enrichment activity. These activities will start in October, and allow for students and staff members to present a variety of different lessons.

McAnarney also hopes to increase student attendance by creating a competition between grades. Once a week, the daily attendance of each grade will be added up and the class with the highest attendance rate by the end of each quarter will receive a prize. This will be a year long competition and weekly updates will be posted on the attendance board in the office. Currently, freshmen and sophomores are tied with an average daily rate of 94 percent, and the juniors and seniors are tied at 92.5 percent.

However, not just good attendance will be recognized. This year, McAnarney is also  encouraging teachers to submit positive office referrals for students who have shown great “respect, responsibility, and excellence.” These students will receive a small treat and a cheerful note home about the student’s admirable work.

Students will also have a chance at additional leadership opportunities by joining the new FS Student Advisory Committee. This committee will be composed of 10 students from all four grades and will meet quarterly to discuss how to further increase student engagement and develop action steps to these goals.

“We want to provide the best possible experiences for you, and not just academic [wise], but socially as well, so when you do leave this building, you’re really prepared and comfortable in any situation that you go into,”  McAnarney said.