East Grand Rapids — Stephanie Olson is the new principal of Wealthy Elementary School. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Administrators.
Other positions you have held in education: “I am coming to Wealthy from Bloomfield Hills Schools, and have been an educator since 2007. I was an art teacher for 12 years, and most recently completed my fifth year as the IB teacher leader at Lone Pine Elementary School. I have previously served as a district content area teacher leader, an administrative intern, a performing arts coordinator and IB instructional coach, and held teaching positions in both Bloomfield Hills and Cobb County Schools.”
What about jobs outside education? “Although my very first ‘real’ job was in education, I really enjoyed working for The Parlor in East Lansing. This was a ’50s-style diner, where I served ice cream. In addition, I worked for the State News as a graphic designer, and taught various summer art camps.”
- Bachelor’s degree in art education, Michigan State University
- Master’s degree in art education, Georgia State University
- Education specialist in leadership/K-12 administration, Oakland University
What book, movie, TV show or podcast have you loved lately?
- Book: “Street Data,” or anything by Jim Knight
- Movie: “Barbie,” “A Man Called Otto”
- TV show: “Ted Lasso”
- Podcast: “The Modern Principal”
What historical figure would you love to spend a day with?
Name three great things about going into K-12 education:
- “Education is a profession where you can see the impact that you are having on the world around you. I believe that education is a career that allows us to envision a new and better world.”
- “Working with children — kindergartners — they always make you laugh and have such an amazing, optimistic perspective.”
- “I love learning and school. Education is a career with a lot of variety and I really enjoy the opportunity to serve others.”
Why did you want to become an administrator? “When I started teaching I wanted to change the world, and I noticed a lot of other educators who felt the same way. I loved being in the classroom and working with children every day. Not that this feeling has ever changed for me, but throughout my career, I made friends with and had the privilege to work with some of the most amazing people I had ever met.
“As I moved throughout my career, I noticed these amazing teachers started to burn out and lose their love of teaching and passion. At the same time, I started to observe different leaders and watched how their leadership truly impacted this. I wanted to be part of the solution and change for the better.”
‘When I started teaching I wanted to change the world.’— Wealthy Elementary Principal Stephanie Olson
What else would you like to share? “My husband Mike and I are proud parents to Kai (age 11) and Mila (age 5), as well as a dog and two cats. I’ve lived in Macomb County for the last 10 years, after returning home from teaching in Kennesaw, Georgia. I grew up in the small town of Armada. … I am an avid reader, especially picture books and now middle-grade fiction (thanks to Kai). I love to travel, enjoy getting lost in a well-written TV series, and try to spend lots of time outdoors. I look forward to introducing my family to the many wonderful people that call Wealthy ‘home’ in the near future.”
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