Meet the Wellington Finalists: Amy Spangler

After a life-time of travel, experienced administrator looking to settle down.

A decade ago, Amy Spangler had just finished her second year as principal at Forest Hill Elementary School in Lake Oswego, Oregan. She called it the perfect job for the educator at the top of her field: She loved the school and the facility and community were supportive and happy to have her onboard.

Then her husband, a high-level executive with Starbucks, told her that he was being transferred to its business hub in Toyko.

"It nearly killed me," she told an assembly of teachers, parents and school committee members yesterday, Oct. 25, during the first of two meetings with the parents and staff of the Wellington Elementary School as part of the finalist process as the Belmont School District seeks to replace long-time principal Amy Wagner who is retiring on Dec. 1.

A decision on the new principal or the restart of a new selection process will be announced tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 26 by Superintendent Dr. Thomas Kingston.

Spangler matriculated at Arizona State University were she earned a BA in Elementary Education and later earned a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction; and a School Administrative Certificate from Seattle Pacific University.

And in many ways, Spangler – the daughter of a kindergarten teacher mother and a High School principal dad – has spent those 10 years seeking to lead a school once again.

In the past 10 years, Spangler first kept her hands busy for nearly four years volunteering with the international education community in Japan, then working as an special assignment administrator in Oregon.

Then, in 2009, Spangler entered the for-profit education world becoming the director for learning and development at Knowledge Universe, the largest (with more than $1.6 billion in revenue) private early childhood education provider in the US with its KinderCare Learning Center operation.

Headquartered in Portland, Spangler led a team that helped create professional development curriculum for the company's teachers, telling the Wellington community that she was in KinderCare centers "all the time" working to establish professional learning teams and creating an evaluation system based on a rubric continuum.

Spangler said she would bring her knowledge gained in education and business to the Wellington but she would be spending "65 to 75 percent of my time in the classroom" mentoring teachers and conducting informal needs assessments so she can mitigate future issues whether it is helping the math teams get ready to adopt a new system or lead the adoption of the new teachers evaluation process.

When asked by a staff member that would it be reasonable to believe that an educator of her expertise and experience would be pegged for a superintendents slot in the near future, Spangler said, "here's the deal": after spending 18 years being the "trailing spouse" moving from state-to-state and then overseas at the whim of Starbucks, "we're all exhausted."

Her husband accepted a position with Dunkin' Brands – the Dunkin' Donut firm in Canton – in 2010 and now it is what her friends call "Amy's turn."

"I know what I want. My ego's been in check" after leaving the Lake Oswego school; "I want to be a principal again."

As for her association with Dunkin', Spangler answered the quirey concerning "complementary" morning coffee by saying "I'm not saying yes or no."


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