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Dalton retires, Wernecke takes over

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Mark Dalton, the principal of the 9th Grade Campus, retired on Dec.18 after initially resigning in July. Dalton has been working at the school since its’ doors opened, an assistant principal for eight years and then a principal when the 9th Grade Campus opened. Amanda Wernecke, the current vice principal, filled his position on Jan. 4.

Q: What was your favorite moment on campus?

A: My favorite recent moment was the naming of Ms. Wernecke to replace me, because I’m  actually completely thrilled about that.That was wonderful. I’ve had so many wonderful moments on this campus; it’s been a joy. And I’m sure that my favorite things were working with teachers and seeing accomplishments made, going to classes and seeing kids engaged in learning and teachers doing great jobs and those were the most rewarding and exciting times.

Q: What makes Hebron different from other schools?

A: There’s a lot of uniqueness about Hebron. Of course, I’ve been here since 1999 when the school opened and I’ve seen the school grow. It’s an exceptional place, I mean, look at all the awards and the state championships that the programs have earned. We have wonderful kids who just excel in so many ways. We also have a tremendous faculty. LISD is a great district to work in and there’s always a lot of potential for jobs and we’re able to just pick the best people. The combination of the student body, parental support and the faculty come together in a perfect mix.

Q: What are you going to do after retirement?

A: I’m planning on getting a part-time job with iTeach Texas, which is a teacher certification program. It’s an alternative to going through traditional student teaching and Lewisville and Hebron have hired many teachers on alternative certification and they’ve been very successful. I’ll go out to school and I’ll observe these candidates and help them get certified. We have an air stream which is a travel trailer and me and my wife, who is the testing coordinator on the main campus and is also retiring in January, are planning on going on some nice, long trips around the country.

Q: What is like to leave?

A: It doesn’t seem real yet.

Q: How do you feel about Ms. Wernecke taking over?

A: There’s a whole process in place to choose the new principal and I felt so strongly that I wanted it to be her. Mr. Scott didn’t want to be principal at this time. She and I have worked together and I think she’ll do a tremendous job. Because I’m leaving in the middle of the year, she’ll have much more time to plan for next year.[/vc_column_text]

Ambika Kapil- 10th Grade

He’s a great guy and he’s very inspiring. He’s very quick on his feet so like whenever a kid was freaking out in the middle of the hallway about AP Human [Geography] or something he was always there to be like, ‘It’s cool, it’s fine, it’s just 9th grade.’ I feel like it’s a mini-mentor leaving. He showed me that you don’t always gotta freak out about everything and you have got to relax. It’s high school, you still have the rest of your life. I remember one time in the hallway he told me, ‘Grades get stressful at times, but what you’re going to hate is that when you’re older and you’ll realize you didn’t do anything you actually wanted to do in high school. Him leaving is taking a lot of memories away but it’s okay because I know he’ll come and visit. He’s someone everyone will remember as being a great principal and that he did a good job in making sure the 9th grade campus was moving smoothly. But yeah, I’ll miss him.

Shannon Whiteley- Teacher

It’s always sad to have change. I’ve known Mr. Dalton for 16 years, since the school opened. My family’s known him for a really long time and it’s going to be different to have somebody else in charge. He’s very straightforward and is somebody that will always let you know where you stand, but he also really cares about his staff. He cares about us as people and making sure that we have everything we need as teachers. Personally, he was very supportive when I was looking for my job. Hebron had an opening and he was very open to interviewing me. Ms. Wernecke was with me from the beginning as well. She used to be an English teacher at Hebron. It’s exciting to see someone who was in our shoes, literally, is taking over. I think she’s learned a lot from Mr. Dalton, so her principal style will be very similar to his. They trust their teachers. Mr. Dalton trusted us to take care of our business. He didn’t feel like he had to look over our shoulders. You feel respected when your principal trusts you to do what he wants you to do. I think Ms. Wernecke will have a very similar approach to the way she deals with the staff.

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Dalton retires, Wernecke takes over