Epping native Mark Vallone is retiring as Principal of Epping Elementary School after over 30 years in education, reported Seacoast Online. A lifelong resident of Epping, he has been the principal for 19 years and is proud of making it a “community school.”
Vallone became principal of Epping Elementary School in 1998, where he helped transform the school into a welcoming place for parents and students:
Vallone identified three key areas when he took over. “The parents didn’t feel the school was welcoming,” he recalled.
There wasn’t a lot of professional development for the staff, a fact he realized after working in Bedford. And the school was behind in its technology.
Vallone went into action, opening the school with his meet-and-greet, newsletter, and other networking efforts. He ramped up professional development, and wrote grants for technology. He oversaw the building of an addition when the state mandated kindergarten, and he’s proud of curriculum updates such as the Reader’s Workshop. “We raised the bar on curriculum,” he said.
But he’s proudest of making EES a “community school,” with the children at the center and families an integral part.
Vallone has become a fixture in the school, greeting the children every morning:
Vallone does what he calls the “Meet and Greet” every morning, standing outside and welcoming the children who arrive by car. While the practice was begun to help with traffic issues, he kept it, noting, “It’s a great ritual. It lets people know the school is looking out for their kids.” That welcome is built into the school rules, he added: every child is to be greeted by name at least twice. While Vallone doesn’t do the school buses, another group of staff, including Assistant Principal Erin Milbury, waited in the foyer to greet those children.
“It’s also a good way to do a quick check, to see if the parents want to give you some information,” he added.
A reception for Vallone will be held June 15. For more information or to RSVP, contact Administrative Assistant Cheryl MacLeay at firstname.lastname@example.org.