DELAND-WELDON — Amanda Geary may be the new superintendent of the 210-student DeLand-Weldon school district, but she won’t need anyone to show her the ropes.
She already knows her way around the buildings, the students who attend there and the faculty and staff who will be assisting her.
Geary has been serving as PreK-12th grade principal at DeLand-Weldon (D-W) for the past two years and during that time she mentored with Dr. Jeff Holmes who was servings as interim superintendent. Holmes is the retired superintendent of the Clinton school district.
Geary is no stranger to small towns or small school districts. She grew up in Mackinaw, Illinois and graduated from Dee-Mack High School. She attended Illinois Central College and then transferred to Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri to play volleyball.
After graduation, Geary stayed in Kansas City to teach fourth grade for one year before returning to Central Illinois and accepting a teaching position at Central School in Lincoln. When her position was RIF’d (reduction in force) at Central she taught at Hartsburg-Emden for a year before returning to Central.
Two years ago, with her principal endorsement in hand, Geary interviewed for the principal position at D-W and immediately knew she wanted the position.
“I didn’t have any high school experience, so I did not think I would get hired, but when I came and interviewed, I fit like a glove,” Geary said. “I interviewed with the staff—it was a full interview panel—and I meshed so well.”
Geary was hired as principal for grades Pre-K to 12th grade, and credits the faculty and staff who “go above and beyond” their job responsibilities to know all of the students.
“Everybody in this school knows my students names and we try to make our students feel special,” said Geary. “We give our students what they need.”
As an example, Geary shared how staff often take time out of their lunch or planning time “to reteach or mentor students. The staff does this on their own with out administration asking.”
D-W high school business and computer teacher Matt Goldman has been named principal of grades 6 through 12 while Geary will continue to lead grades pre-K though 5 while heading up the district.
“We have a great relationship,” Geary says of herself and Goldman, who is starting his ninth school year at D-W. “I’m looking forward to having another administrator in the building with me. It is so helpful to have him to bounce ideas off.”
Geary’s favorite part of her work is “the kids. That’s why I’m in this position.”
“I love the interaction with the kids,” she said. “I love the smiles on their faces when they come to school and they see us and they want to tell us what they learned or what they did last night.”
“(These students) are the future,” Geary continued. “It’s so exciting for me to have conversations with them and to learn from them. I just cherish those moments.”
Geary foresees a great future for the D-W school district.
“We’re doing a lot of good things and the teachers here are amazing. We are a diamond in the rough.”