Don’t let the suit fool you – Martin Twiss is not making a power statement with his wardrobe. In fact, he intends to use his position of authority with great care as he embraces an attitude of collaboration in his new position. This was apparent in one of his first encounters with North Cavan staff as they met during the last few weeks of school to get to know each other a bit. Rather than introduce a “new, improved” vision for the school, Twiss began with an exercise know in academia as “Stop, Start, Continue”. Participants identify activities that they feel are counter-productive (so stop doing them), new ideas to try (start) and current ideas that are working. He plans to run a similar exercise with other significant stakeholders, including the Parent Council members and senior students. Research will precede any new initiative, and buy-in will be secured. He will not willingly mandate from above.
It’s not that he’s a pushover hoping to please everyone. An experienced educator who has spent many years in the classroom and a number of years as a Superintendent at the board level, Twiss knows what he would like to achieve, and his list is quite daunting. One of the top priorities from the Board is to encompass 3 hours of math education into each school day. No worries, he replies. Math is everywhere; you just have to use your imagination to show students how to see it, use it and ultimately master it.
With a seven year old daughter, Twiss is well attuned to the junior age group – he knows what they’re about. He understands their capacity, and he has appropriate expectations for them. Besides raising their math comprehension, Twiss wants them to become good citizens. It’s about character, and he has some ideas on how to encourage attributes of engagement, sacrifice and community spirit. It will not be dull.
Like Principal Bob Sinclair, Twiss plans to retire from this school at the end of his career in education, which is roughly five or six years away. Rather than read this as a slight, as an easy place to wind down and take it easy in the last few years of an extensive career, the North Cavan community should see this for what it is- a great compliment. Sinclair and Twiss both recognized the potential t of working closely with committed students, parents and staff in a small, community school where they could see the impact they have on their students. There is no greater pleasure for a committed educator than watching their students develop their academic, social and personal skills. Welcome to North Cavan, Principal Twiss! KG