What’s Popping with the Principal?

 From a woman who started her college career in Florida, thinking she was going to be a vet, to now becoming the new principal at Oyster River High School, It’s time for all students, parents and staff to get in the know, or rather, “The Noe” about the new principal at the high school.

     After the former principal, Suzanne Fillipone, was promoted to the district’s new Assistant Superintendent, Oyster River High School needed a new principal. After a long process and lots of candidates, a board of people who had been dubbed the hiring staff, made the choice that Rebecca Noe, former Bedford High School Vice Principal, had the right outlook on what the Oyster River district believes is important for their students to grow and learn. With this however, Noe has also put her own spin on Oyster River, trying to make it a fun environment for all.  

     Coming into a new school, Noe did not want to change Oyster River to be an exact replica of what Bedford had been for her, as well as what had been done there to make the learning environment their own learning environment. She accepted the new environment and the challenges that came with working in a new environment. This meant listening to the staff and students around her on what Oyster River as a whole does to succeed. Michael McCann, the Dean of Students at Oyster River High School, saw this as she started out saying, “every leader has a different personality and approach…When you’re starting off in a new place, you listen and learn first and that’s part of the process for any school leader or district leader… that’s a lot of what she’s doing right now.” 

     Noe actively works on learning what the students want. With COVID-19 affecting events students look forward to every year, such as Spirit Week, Mr. Bobcat, and the Pep Rally, many feared we would lose these time honored traditions. Noe activitley heard from the student body of the school however and made sure all these traditions retired, even if new spins had to be put on them due to COVID. Along with the revival of old traditions, a Fall Festival was added to the end of spirit week. The festival was held the Friday after the pep rally and will hopefully be seen again in the coming years. 

     However, that does not mean that Noe has not brought some Bedford traditions to Oyster River. “Probably out of the two assistant principals at Bedford, I was the harder one… When COVID-19 started and we were pushed out, we thought it was going to be two weeks and all of a sudden it wasn’t two weeks, so I just started thinking about ‘how can we do something that will still make kids laugh?’’ This idea birthed an account on Instagram with the username @bhsnoe, as well as a Tik Tok account under the username, @educatorsinquarentine. “I knew they would never ever expect me to do something like that.” 

     She learned the art of making Tik Toks, her first one showing off her line dancing skills, something he had previously taught. Noe became so invested in the account, she created a schedule of different Tik Toks she would post throughout the school week. “I made Medal Monday, so if somebody did something good in the community I put it on my Instagram so they got recognized for it. Tik Tok Tuesday, Where is it Wednesday. I’d take something in the school and they’d have to guess where it was, Throwback Thursday, so pictures of past pep rallies or football games or things we had done together… and Themed Fridays.” 

     Since she started at Oyster River, she has now created a new Instagram account with the username @orhs_noe. On this account, Noe has begun to feature pictures from events both staff and students have participated in. This includes sports games, teacher workshops, as well as other day to day things occurring in the school. In addition to this, Noe has also started a program called Bobcat of the Week. This program allows students and teachers to be nominated for the good deeds they have done.

     As Noe starts her career here at Oyster River, not much can be known about what the future holds. However, what can be said is the positive track Noe plans to take the school on. A big part of being a former teacher means she wants to help our staff greatly. She says, “if I can help more teachers, I’m actually helping more students… getting teachers resources they need, looking ahead at their curriculum and making sure they have whatever they need to implement what they want to do that helps [students].”

     With an interview process that consists of multiple interviews, visits, and many applications, it’s important to make sure your answers stand out, especially with the other people who had just as much a shot to become principal. For Heather Macanoff, a Oyster River High School school counselor, Noe had the right things to say, making her stand out. “Her answers to the questions were obviously quality answers for the first round…[From] her interactions with the faculty that I observed, [I] could tell she would be able to facilitate meetings, speak to the larger faculty, and have conversations with teachers that would be helpful.” 

     Oyster River has been very lucky to have gained a member to their administration team that cares about their students, as well as gets involved with the teacher. With COVID making it very hard for students, Noe has made sure everyone being back in the building has been a positive experience so far, and there is no doubt that she will continue to.