Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2005

Principal in second career

August 18, 2005

Public education shares more similarities than differences with military service, Tim Newton says.

"Teamwork is just as important in one as in another," the Lansing Elementary School principal said. Newton's first career was in the Army, and he still serves one weekend a month with the National Guard.

The biggest difference between the two careers, Newton said, "is that education is more of a democratic society. In the military if I have something I want (subordinates) to get done, I just tell them."

Newton, who grew up in Ledyard, Conn., enlisted for active duty just out of high school because he didn't know what he wanted to do, he said. He served in Germany and Fort Riley and was sent to Kuwait and southern Iraq in the first Gulf War as a tank gunner in the 1st Infantry Division.

With his buzz haircut and stocky frame, it's not hard to imagine Newton in uniform. Yet when he wears his National Guard uniform to work, he says students often ask him, "What are you doing in uniform?"

"It's sometimes hard to explain what the National Guard is," he said.

Newton left the service in 1991 although, he said, "I really loved the Army."

"I felt that void that I just needed to do something more," he said. He enrolled at Kansas State University to major in elementary education. Then he began teaching at Junction City Elementary School, where he also served in the administrative position of head teacher.

In 2002 he became the principal for Lansing Elementary. Lansing was a change, Newton said, because the staff numbered fewer in Junction City, and in Junction City the children were needier, coming from lower-income homes where basic needs such as money for food and rent often took priority over the children's education.

Name: Tim Newton

Tim Newton

Tim Newton

Address: 107 N. Brookridge St.

Occupation: Principal, Lansing Elementary School

Family: Wife, Janice

How long have you lived in Lansing, and what brought you here? Four years. The job of elementary school principal.

What do you like most about Lansing? The small-town atmosphere and the access to the big city.

What do you do for fun? Fishing, walking, running and yard work

What's the best advice you've received? From Dr. Larry Dickson, associate superintendent of Junction City School District: "Always make your decisions based on what's in the best interest of students."

What organizations or clubs do you belong to? National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Education Association, Kansas State Alumni and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12003

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