When Dayton Elementary School III opens in Fall 2007, students and parents will be greeted by Principal Nolan Greenburg, who will make the move from Dayton Elementary School, where he's been 11 years.
"I've stuck around longer than I thought I would, and being at (DES) is the best thing I've done so far in my 28 years in education," he said.
Leaving a staff and school that meshes well to take on the opening of the new school, was not an easy decision, Greenburg said.
"It was hard to know what to do, and I've been anticipating this day nearly three years, but it was a struggle," he said. "Big change is hard but at this point in my career, I think it's time for renewal, not only for myself, but DES will benefit from new ideas that will come with (new leadership)."
Lyon County School District officials have been "very generous" in what they're allocating to DES III, Greenburg said.
In addition to staff that will come from both Dayton and Sutro Elementary schools, the district has allocated funds for full-time counselor, librarian and music teacher.
"They've done everything they possibly can to insure a quality program and done a great job in anticipating growth," he said. "The district's support has let me know I'm not alone in this, but I think (the process) will still take something out of my hide."
According to Lyon County School Superintendent Nat Lommori, Greenburg is the best person for the job.
"The opportunity to open a new school, besides being a huge undertaking, is quite an honor," Lommori said. "Nolan is a seasoned veteran administrator who has a calm demeanor all the time and is very level headed and meticulous about every detail.
"He's also well established in the community, so we know parents will feel comfortable with him."
The new school will absorb students from both existing elementary schools, equalizing school size to about 400 students. The mix of students will also allow children to maintain some of their same friendships and support systems created in any given neighborhood.
"We tried very hard to take that into consideration when we drew the lines," Lommori said.
While the school doesn't open until fall, Greenburg is already preparing, while still maintaining his current duties. He is responsible for ordering everything needed on opening day, from desks to pencils and toilet paper, as well as deciding which curriculum to use.
For this, he plans to wait until staffing is in place.
"I think it's important that the teachers who open the school with me are part of making curriculum decisions," Greenburg said. "Twenty heads do make better decisions than one, and I want to include them."
He also plans to host a meeting soon, probably at DES, as a way to meet the parents, answer questions and use it as a springboard for creating a Booster Club.
"It's important to begin developing parent involvement which is critical to a school's success," he said.
The biggest problem for the district at this point, Lommori said, will be finding a new principal for DES.
"Those are some big shoes to fill," Lommori said.
And while Greenburg's time between now and September will be busier than usual, there are good reasons to stay focused.
"It has been joyful seeing the kids grow and mature socially, emotionally and academically and working with amazing teachers to make that happen," he said. "Now, we get to decide what kind of culture and norms we want to create within the school community (realizing) Dayton's demographics have changed, that we need to arrange teaching so that it meets the needs of all situations, regardless of ethnicity and background, economic and otherwise."
• Contact reporter Karel Ancona-Henry at email@example.com or 246-4000.