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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Learning a lot

  • Veterans Elementary teacher Denise Hudson took over at Oakwood and HMS Assistant Principal Blane Mundle got promoted.
    So how are they doing?
    Both say it's challenging and fun, all at the same time.
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  • Principal retirements at Oakwood Elementary and Hannibal Middle School opened new positions for educators in the Hannibal School District last year.
    And they were quickly filled.
    Veterans Elementary teacher Denise Hudson took over at Oakwood and HMS Assistant Principal Blane Mundle got promoted.
    So how are they doing?
    Both say it's challenging and fun, all at the same time.
    "It's going really, really well. I've had so many firsts," Hudson said. "Like with anything it takes time to find a balance between home and work. But it's going really great, it's a fabulous building to join."
    She's made personal goals to learn the many names of the students and families part of the school community, personal connections and she admits the difficulty of having three kids of her own can make the job very busy.
    "There's a lot to it. Just in the maintenance of the building, and with the cafeteria ­— just keeping everything up, staying on top of it all. I have to be very organized and keep a good calendar. I'm a visual person so I like to have an old fashioned calendar, but I've realized I have to keep the electronic calendar because others are checking my dates to make sure they can schedule meetings with me. I've had to go to electronic just so everybody can kind of keep tabs and not double-book me," Hudson said. "Oakwood always had held itself to really high standards as far as performance, and I just want to make sure that we maintain that and exceed. That, to me, is my big challenge."
    And making things easier is her fellow teachers and staff.
    "They're really helpful, they're so respectful," Hudson said. "We're in it together."
    Over at Hannibal Middle School, Mundle is no stranger to being in administration. He's been in a leadership role for the past 12 years.
    Yet, taking over to be the head honcho of a school full of sixth, seventh and eighth graders isn't always easy.
    "There are things to the job that are tough, a lot of time constraints and things like that, but that's the way it is at any job. I love it, wouldn't want to do anything else," he said. "The biggest difference is you have different things that you have to do with scheduling and different things with evaluations. Just a lot of different things that teachers want you to do. Many different things that you have to make the call for. It's kind of nice when you're an assistant because the principal just bounces ideas off of you and he or she makes the choice. But now I'm the one bouncing the ideas and I make the choice."
    Budgeting and scheduling are part of Mundle's learning curve, but outside of that, being a leader and advocate for the benefit of the students is his biggest mission.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I want our district, and I want our school, to have as much technology as we can possibly have, but I want them to use that technology properly. Our teachers have done a really good job of using that technology properly, but that goes back to budget," Mundle said. "Are we going to have enough money to pay for those things? Are we going to have enough support services in place to be able to support the technology? That's probably the biggest change in my job. I was handling more discipline issues and involved in a lot of day to day operations, but those operations were quite different than what I have right now."
    And when it comes to being the boss?
    "I love it," Mundle said. "My philosophy is very simple; we're all colleagues and we make choices together. And we want to make sure that people are on board. The choices that we make here, and the decisions that we make here, number one, are best for kids."
    Follow on Twitter: @DominicGenetti #Hannibalprincipals
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