Fremont makes new principal feel welcome

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

There's a homemade sign on her door that reads, "Welcome Mrs. Gilles to our Fremont family." She ran out of room in her office for all the bouquets of flowers she's received, so she put them in other rooms around the school and at home.

"It was very humbling when I started receiving gifts and flowers," she said. "I couldn't believe the kindness of friends."

Casey Gilles, who served as vice principal of Bordewich-Bray Elementary School for five years, had hopes of becoming principal one day. However, with all the principal positions filled in the district, she put that goal on hold.

"I was perfectly happy as vice principal," she said.

Then district officials met with her on Friday, offering her the job of principal at Fremont Elementary School the following Monday.

"It was totally unexpected," she said. "It was a shock."

It was a shock for students and staff at Fremont as well when their former principal announced his resignation that same Friday, Aug. 28., citing personal reasons.

But, Gilles said, they've put that aside to welcome their new administrator.

"The staff has been very willing to help me and accommodate," she said.

She will be formally introduced to the Carson City School Board during its regular meeting Tuesday evening.

Although she is new to the school, there are several familiar faces.

Before moving to Bordewich-Bray, Gilles taught 15 years at Seeliger Elementary School, where she worked with her now-vice principal Dan Brown. Two teachers at her new school worked as her student teachers at Seeliger.

Gilles said working closely with two principals at Bordewich-Bray taught her to expect a huge learning curve the first year, but she's prepared for the challenge.

"I know how a school should run and what kind of curriculum you need," she said. "We've got a staff that is working really hard, and we just need to continue that. If I didn't think I could do it, I wouldn't have accepted it. I take it that seriously."

She's never worked at a year-round school, but said the schedule should be easy to adjust to since her two children, Jason and Scott, are grown, leaving her and her husband, Dave, alone in the home with two dogs.

"It might actually be easier," she said. "We go on break in three weeks so I'll have time to get organized."

Probably the hardest part about leaving her former school, she said, was saying good-bye to the students. She cried when she read their farewell cards.

But it's one of the things she most looks forward to in her new post. She said already children have been verifying how to pronounce and spell her name, one little girl also straightened her collar for her.

"I can be in any mood, but when I walk through the door I start smiling," she said. "That's just the atmosphere of schools."

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