A familiar face will be stepping into the role of principal at Kate Collins Middle this school year.
Marcia Nester, formerly an assistant principal at Kate Collins, was named principal for the Badgers effective Wednesday. Nester replaces Josh Herndon who left to become principal of Southeast High in Ohio. He served as Kate Collins principal since July 2018.
Nester, 50, served as an assistant principal for the Badgers for two years. Before that, she taught first grade at both Wenonah and William Perry Elementary schools for 10 years and spent another 10 years as a reading specialist at William Perry and Kate Collins. The 2020-2021 school year will be Nester’s 23rd year with Waynesboro Public Schools.
“Mrs. Nester possesses the combination of instructional experiences and leadership abilities that will be responsive to the changing needs of the students and the community,” Superintendent of Waynesboro Public Schools Jeff Cassell said.
Becoming part of the school administration team was always the long-term intent for Nester who said her goal is to support students, staff and families. However, she waited to apply for a principal position while she had children of her own. Now with one son in college and two senior twins at Waynesboro High, the timing was right for Nester. While the COVID-19 pandemic leaves school reopening plans for the fall in limbo, Nester said she felt even more compelled to apply for the position.
“That made it even more of a critical time to apply — knowing that I do know our staff and our families and the students,” Nester said. “I wanted to be able to support them when there’s such an uncertain time.”
Nester said she feels confident in being able to lead the school while facing challenges from the pandemic.
“I feel like we’re all in this together as far as our division and other divisions. The support from our central office down to the principals is wonderful. They have been very supportive and because of that I feel confident that we’ll be able to move forward and do the best that we can for our students,” she said.
Adapting in the upcoming school year will be a priority for the new principal.
“With the current situation with learning we’ll have to adapt to our ‘new normal’ so to speak,” Nester said. “We’ll be able to continue the work that we’ve done and be able to reach students whether they’re here or learning from home. We have to adapt and adjust in ways that we can still offer quality instruction and still work toward building relationships with our students and our families.”
Kate Collins also is fortunate to have community partners and be involved in the community which is “vital for building support and strength,” Nester added.
With about 670 sixth through eighth grade students enrolled last year, Nester described Kate Collins as a “collaborative environment with teachers and faculty that are dedicated to students and their families.”
Nester anticipates staying at Kate Collins for the long-term future and hopes to continue the path Kate Collins is on toward growth and collaboration.
“I’d want families to know how much we care about their students and how much we’re going to strive to continue to meet the needs that they have. We’re always open to their input and questions, and I hope that I can serve them and be a support for them as well,” Nester said. “I’m very grateful that I can be here in this time when there’s so much unknown and to be that familiar support.”
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