Megan Forman takes reins at Hylen Souders
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
During the Friday, June 29, Big Walnut Local School District Board of Education meeting, board members approved a motion to hire Megan Forman as the Hylen Souders Elementary School Principal, replacing Joe Jude, who left the district following three years to accept a position closer to his home.
Many newer residents may not know that Forman was born and grew up in the Big Walnut district; she graduated from Big Walnut High School in 1998, where she was a standout member of the girls varsity soccer team.
Forman went on the play soccer for Ohio Wesleyan University and was a member of the Battling Bishops’ women’s team that won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2001. She graduated in from OWU 2002 with dual degrees in early childhood education and psychology.
While at OWU, Forman did mission work in Mexico for a summer, the following summer she travelled to Japan to teach English at the junior high level, and the summer before her senior year she traveled to Europe with her OWU soccer teammates and played against European club teams – that was the summer immediately before the Ohio Wesleyan won the national championship.
After graduation from OWU Forman spent time in India in the Himalayas doing educational leadership and environmental ethics teaching; and since then has done some summer trekking in Thailand.
But Big Walnut is home to Megan Forman. The fall following graduation from OWU, Forman came on board at Big Walnut, teaching Kindergarten at Big Walnut Elementary School, the elementary school she attended as a child. She then taught first grade for seven years, and when General Rosecrans Elementary School opened she taught third grade at GRE.
While teaching in the district Forman completed graduate work at Ashland University in educational leadership and policy, with added credit hours for administrative licensure – she has a dual license that allows her to be an administrator at both the elementary and middle school level.
Getting the Hylen Souders principal’s position wasn’t a shoe-in — anyone familiar with the district’s hiring practices knows that Big Walnut administrators don’t just hand out positions. There are multiple steps teacher candidates go through getting a job at Big Walnut, and that process is even more rigorous for administrator candidates.
“There was a panel of administrators, plus building reps, parents and teachers,” Forman explained. “That was followed by staff round robins, plus a follow-up round with (district superintendent) Steve (Mazzi) and (assistant superintendent) Gary (Barber). It was rigorous, but a great challenge.”
Forman agreed that part of her success at Big Walnut has been the mentorship of GRE principal Peggy McMurry, who was the BWE principal when Forman started teaching in the district. When McMurry took the position as GRE principal, and responsibility for opening the new building, Forman joined her team.
“It will be exciting taking Peggy’s mentorship to a new level,” Forman said. “She’s been great so far, both with positive feedback and constructive criticism. I look forward to working with her in my new capacity.”
Forman said that Hylen Souders Elementary has a strong team in place; she doesn’t see any need for significant changes as the 2012–13 school year begins.
One area Forman did say that she is interested in exploring as principal is establishing a positive behavior system — getting all building staff involved in common behavioral expectations in common areas for all students at all grade levels.
“Becoming the Souders principal is a fantastic opportunity to continue serving this community in a building with a strong academic tradition,” Forman said. “Three years of Excellent with Distinction on the state report card, and preliminary indications are that that tradition will continue. I’m thrilled to be working with a team that’s doing so many positive things.
“I want to make certain we have a strong connection with the Big Walnut community as a whole; that we’re connecting with all stakeholders,” Forman added. “We especially want to strengthen the relationships we have now. This is a great opportunity to serve a great community. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Megan Forman is married to Jerry McCaulla; they are raising three children, and are also an active Eagle Country 4-H Club family.