Costa Catholic School's new principal, Carolyn Koos, asks third-graders what they are learning about Friday morning as she does a walk-through of all the classrooms.

Koos gets in the groove

Costa's new principal makes first rounds

Saturday, August 27, 2005

GALESBURG - Carolyn Koos was greeted by the sound of 20-plus metal chairs screeching against a marble floor as she stopped by Gary Armstrong's fifth-grade class Friday. At first sight of their new principal standing in the doorway, the fifth-graders respectfully stood in unison.

Costa hired Koos in July. She replaces Patrick Hise, who served as principal during the 2004-05 school year and resigned in June to serve as assistant principal for the Williamsfield School District.

Koos took a break from paperwork Friday, the first full day of school, to do a "walk-around" the Costa campus.

"The walk-around is good because the children are able to see you and know that you are involved in their education and it's nice for the teachers too because they know the principal is interested in what they're doing," Koos said. "It's really good to know that the principal is interested and is with you throughout the school day."

As Koos made her way through the primary building she stopped at each classroom for a quick visit.

"Are you having fun in school today," Koos asked Ingrid Smith's third-graders.

"We're talking about living and non-living things, trying to tell the difference between the two," Smith said.

Koos noticed the two categories marked on the chalk board.

"I see a pencil is a non-living thing and a dog is a living thing. What would a cat be?" Koos asked.

The class correctly answered that a cat also would be a living thing.

As Koos waved goodbye and headed toward Kay Tracy's third-grade class, she quizzed the students one more time, asking, "so, what would I be?"

"Living," the class answered in unison.

Back in the principal's office, Koos sat down at her desk to check messages and finish her paperwork. One of her goals for the beginning of the school year is to do what she calls a "needs assessment" to familiarize herself with the climate and traditions of the school and learn what some of the school's needs are.

"Every school is different. Usually when I go into a new school I do a needs assessment," Koos said.

Other goals Koos has as new principal of Costa are to get acquainted with local political leaders and business owners.

"I'd like to be a part of the community as well as part of the school community," Koos said.

She also wants to maintain a strong relationship with the public school district.

"There is a place for every child but it isn't always in the same place. I believe Costa has a lot to offer a child and I believe the public schools have a lot to offer children," Koos said.

So far Koos says she is impressed with the teachers and students at Costa.

"I've always believed in schools that promote the body, mind and spirit and teach the whole child," Koos said.

Meet the principal

Name: Carolyn Koos

Nickname: "I've been nicknamed 'The Builder' because wherever I go I tend to build. I'm very much an out-of-the-box thinker."

Previous experience: Most recently she served as administrator for Marquette Academy in Davenport, Iowa.

Roots: Born in Detroit, Mich. Grew up in New Jersey. Currently commutes from Bettendorf, Iowa.

Family: Husband is an attorney in Bettendorf. They have nine adult children; the youngest is 22.

Education: Two bachelor's degrees in education and music from Morningside College; a master's in science education, professional administrative certificate and an education specialist degree from Drake University; pursuing a doctorate from Illinois State University and an executive master of business administration at Lansbridge University in Canada; she also is a master of management degree candidate. She expects to graduate in 2006.


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