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July 11, 1997     Cape Gazette
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July 11, 1997

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44 - CAPE GAZETTE,Friday, July 11 - July 17, 1997 " SCHOOL & EDUCATION Feichtl to serve as Jefferson School headmistress By Kerry Kester The Jefferson School Board of Directors announced Tuesday, July 8, that it hired Nancy Feichtl, Ed.D., as its first head- mistress. The board chose Feichtl, formerly a director of instruction in tle Cape Hen- lopen School District, after a nationwide search. Feichtl, who started her career in educa- tion, nearly 30 years ago, began her tenure in the Cape district in 1983 at Shields Elemen- tary School, where she served as principal of the fourth through sixth grade school. During that time, she also became active in district-wide programs, such as the spelling bee and inservice programs for teachers. She was the only principal in the district who ran teacher inservices, and in 1986, she was chosen to represent Delaware at the Harvard University Principal's Institute. She was one of the three principals from throughout the nation to be a presenter at the institute. In 1988, the Cape district changed the composition of Shields Elementary School when it sent the fourth through sixth grade classes to what is now known as Lewes Mid- dle School. The annex at the northeast end of that building, known then as Savannah Road Elementary School, became the children's new school, and Feichtl made the move FEICHTL with. her children and staff. Feichtl started district level administra- tion work at the same time, when she accepted the responsibilities for coordi'nat- ing elementary education for the district. Feichtl then moved back to Shields as an interim principal when the building's prin- cipal suddenly died. After the district filled that position, she was promoted to the full time position of director of elementary edu- cation. While she held that'position, she filled several long-term vacancies or filled in for principals in the elementary schools. Two of the positions included being the acting principal at H.O. Brittingham and at Sussex Ele.rnentary Consortium. Feichtl's role in recent years included overseeing curriculum adoption, writing grants for special programs and funding for the district, directing special education and overseeing federal projects involving mil- lions of dollars. As a director of instruction, she was active in assisting the district with personnel selection and providing teacher training. Through the years, she has taught over 30 different inservice programs and she volun- teered her services to teach most of the dis- tricts in Sussex County about a fairly recent civil rights disability law. "I really am very excited," said Feichti about her new position. "It's a chance to get back with children and from everything I' ve heard, it's such a nice group of students." Feichtl said of particular appeal to her is Jefferson's "schoolhouse feeling." The school, which began five years ago with a kindergarten class of five, has grown to a student population of more than 50, spanning kindergarten through grade six. "They've come a long way, but it's small enough to feel like a schoolhouse," said Feichtl. Jefferson School earned Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation last spring. "Hiring a full time head of school was the next logical stop in our growth as a school," said Nancy Tar- gett, board co-chair. "We are thrilled to have someone of Dr. Feichtl's caliber," Feichtl said she recently met the staff members during a reception and is anxious to work with them. "I like to work as a team," she said, "and I already feel the teamwork growing." For more information about the program at Jefferson .School, call 856-3300. Shields Elementary community cultivating plot of ground Above, fourth gradei-s Kate- lyn Fanto (1) and Laura Lay- ton go fishing in the goldfish pond at the school's garden. At right, fourth grader Lau- ra Layton is one of approxi- mately 300 Richard Shields Elementary students who helped the school's garden grow. Jim Elltingsworth photos By Jen Ellingsworth Brimming with brightly-colored flowers and leafy green plants and vegetables, the garden at the lichard Shields Elementary School was cultivated by the hard work and dedication of its stu- dents, staff, parents and members of the community. Patrice Riggin, a Shields third grade teacher, has spearheaded the garden project. Initial funding for the garden was provided by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and through a Project 21 grant - a state-wide math and sci- ence project in which all Shields students participated. Since that time, money has also been obtained through a National Gardening Association Youth Gardening Grant; Shields was one of 200 schools in the nation to receive the award. Approximately 2,000 schools applied. The latter grant provided the students and teachers with tools, seeds, plants and other accessories for the garden. Students came out and measured the area, said Rig- gin, and drew up a map of the gar- den. Shortly after spring break, she and her troops rolled up their sleeves and went .to work. Due tb a cold spell earlier this season, growth of many of the seeds was stunted. But time, patience and,perseverance has paid off for the gardeners, qhe area, formerly a blank space next to the playground, has sprung to life with an array of flora and fau- na, The garden includes strawber- ries, pumpkins, watermelons, pep- pers, tomatoes, squash and cucum- bers. Riggin said she and the stu 5 dents are looking forward to a bountiful late-summer harvest. The students made stepping stones which lead up to the most picturesque portion of the garden - its goldfish pond. Lined with fushia azaleas and tall grasses, the pond is filled with plenty of the colorful goldfish and waterlilies, tadpoles and crayfish, and is cared for on .a regular basis by the staff and students. Riggin said students have also built a compost to accommodate the garden, and Cape Henlopen School District Superintendent Suellen Skeen donated-storage sheds. Since its beginning, Riggm said the staff, community and parents of students have pitched in and donated supplies and help to make the garden a blooming success. Several members of the communi- ty and local businesses have donated their time and materials to the garden effort. Riggin said the staff and students appreciate and are grateful for the response. Shields teachers have used the garden as a learning tool in several different ways. Students learned about living and non-living things and applied their math skills to the plotting of the garden's different sections. Second graders also studied a unit on the life cycles of butterflies, and learned about the PH levels in soils. Students said the gardening pro- ject wasn't only fun, but that they learned valuable information as well. Fourth grider Laura Layton said her favorite part about the garden is planting seeds and watching them grow. "My favorite part was planting the corn and squash," she said, adding that she's also learned the importance of garden mainte- nance. Continued on page 45