New teaching director in Clintonville
Amy Bindas was recently hired as Director of Teaching and Learning for the Clintonville Public School District.
Her first full day with the district will be on Monday, July 1.
Bindas will take over the position that was held by Chris Van Hoof, who has accepted the Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for CESA 8.
Bindas earned her Bachelor’s degree from Marquette University with a major in communications education and a minor in political science education. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also has a great deal of additional training, credits and coursework.
Bindas taught high school language arts in Green Bay, and also served as associate principal at Preble High School. From there, she became principal of Washington Middle School – a position she held for 14 years at a school that averaged 1,000 students, 142 staff members, and a 78 percent poverty rate.
Over the last year, Bindas took a leave of absence. She took time to write a book entitled, “Sailing the Seven C’s of Marriage”. She has another book – a daily devotional – that is currently being edited. To learn more about her book or to visit her daily marriage blog, visit www.findwhatmatters.net.
Bindas has been married to her husband Steve for 18 years. They have two sons, Evan and Jordan. Evan is 15, and is a sophomore in high school. Jordan is 13, and is an eighth grader. The family resides in Suamico.
Bindas also did some teaching at St. Norbert College and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay during her leave of absence.
“I spent lots of time last year speaking about marriage, and I’ll continue to do that,” said Bindas. “But I missed the daily positive stresses that come with being surrounded by students and staff, so I wanted to get back into education.”
Bindas originally interviewed for the middle school principal position in Clintonville, but was steered towards the Director of Teaching and Learning position.
“Superintendent Tom O’Toole thought I would be better qualified for this position, once they knew that Chris Van Hoof would be leaving the district,” said Bindas. “Chris is very good at what she does. I have big shoes to fill.”
Assessment results were recently presented to the school board, and Bindas said she has a solid understanding of where the district is at right now.
“I’ve seen most of the data,” she said. “I know the scores aren’t where we want them to be right now, but the students are growing. If they weren’t growing, I might not have wanted to take this position. We have lots of work to do, but there are strategies in place to get it done.”
Bindas gave four main goals that she will focus on immediately.
“First, I want to increase K-12 communication and collaboration,” she said. “Second, I want our teachers to focus on student progress as it is happening, not just at the end of the year. We need to be making adjustments during learning. Third, I want students to realize their potential. Fourth, I want parents and community members to understand that this is a team effort. We have the students for 12 percent of their time – they spend 88 percent of their time elsewhere.”
When asked about her early impression of the staff and administration in the district, Bindas had only positive remarks.
“Tom (O’Toole) knows his staff. He wants to know them, and he cares about them,” stated Bindas. “That was evident immediately. That kind of atmosphere permeates the district, and I know the staff members care very much as well.
“The school board was very careful in their decision regarding this position,” she continued. “They have valid concerns for the future, and they were very interested to hear my vision for the students. They wanted to make sure it would be a good fit, and they wanted to make sure I would be a servant leader.”
Though the district’s poverty rate is high, Bindas says it doesn’t have to prevent students from succeeding.
“With poverty comes a lack of resources and experiences,” said Bindas. “So, students may not have ever been afforded a trip outside of the region. When they’re asked questions on a state test, they sometimes can’t relate to certain places or experiences. We need to build their background knowledge and give them those kinds of experiences.
“Every student is gifted at something, regardless of how much money their family has,” said Bindas. “I want kids to get excited about their abilities so that they want to learn and grow their talents.”