WILLIAMSTOWN -- In addition to new students, there will be several new faces in the halls and on the walls this fall at Mount Greylock Regional High School.
New principal, Mary MacDonald, officially came on board at the start of this month as new principal for the grades 7 through 12 school. She replaces Jack Kurty who resigned in April.
During that time period, Assistant Principal Christopher Barnes stepped in as interim principal. Barnes has since gone on to take the job as principal of Arlington Memorial Middle and High School in Vermont.
From the end of the school year through July, Mount Greylock had a team of teachers, staff, parents, students and community members from the school's service areas of Lanesborough and Williamstown, help lead several searches for new administrative and teaching staff.
This week, Mount Greylock announced seven new staff hires and one appointment.
MacDonald said she is still looking for an additional full-time math teacher for the oncoming school year.
"I think this presents great new opportunities. We all have an eye on moving the school forward," said MacDonald, who has previously taught at Mount Greylock and has worked in other Berkshire County public schools.
"I know the area. My own kids have gone through this system, and I know a lot of the current families," she said.
Moving forward, MacDonald said, "I'd like to see the faculty, staff and wider school community continue to coalesce to create opportunities for students not only to survive school but to thrive in it.
Summer has included teacher training in literacy techniques and technology.
Mount Greylock is adding new classes like an AP statistics course and astronomy and climate sciences classes. There will be expanded independent study opportunities, and the school will be piloting a Mandarin language program.
As the leaders in the school district continue to pursue different options for a new high school building, the current 53-year-old building is getting some attention this summer.One issue the school is struggling with is mold, caused by moisture and rain. MacDonald said the custodial staff has been removing existing mold and running fans continuously to keep rooms and halls ventilated to prevent it from forming.
On a brighter note, the school library and a room known as Studio 1781, a Mount Greylock student writing center established through Williams College, have been enlivened by new murals. The library mural is comprised of a series of paintings on moveable sheets of Masonite. Colorful icons that represent knowledge across cultures and times now span from the entrance to the length of one wall. They've been painted this summer by a team of students, teachers and community artists. Studio 1781's walls have been transformed into three panels of art by Williams College student Nicolei Gupit. Each work includes illuminating quotes from authors Menna van Praag, William Shakespeare and Amy Tan.
"We're still pursuing a new school but we can't let learning lag because we don't have the facilities," MacDonald said.
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