Two principals in new roles in Houghton
HOUGHTON — As former Elementary School Principal Anders Hill takes over as the superintendent, two Houghton-Portage Township schools have new superintendents.
In December, High School Principal Cole Klein was tapped to take over Hill’s position in the elementary school. Klein was replaced by Houghton Middle School teacher Tiffany Scullion.
For Klein, it’s an opportunity to use his background in elementary education. He majored in elementary education at Northern Michigan University, where he also received a master’s degree in K-12 administration. Most of his teaching career was also spent at the elementary level. After two years teaching middle school at Big Bay de Noc, he spent eight years teaching at Barkell Elementary School in Hancock. He had been principal at Houghton for four-and-a-half years.
“It’s an area that I have a passion for,” he said. “I really enjoy coworking with younger students and all the positive energy that comes with the elementary world.”
His first week on the job has been a positive experience, with students and staff both being welcoming, he said. He’s been familiarizing himself with the school, meeting with students in the halls and cafeteria, popping into classrooms.
Having Hill nearby has also been a help for Klein.
“He was a mentor of mine along with Julie Filpus and Doreen Kramer when I first came to Houghton,” he said. “He’s been very helpful along the way. I’ll have more questions, and I’ll seek his guidance as things come about.”
The past few superintendents have all been elementary school principal. Klein said it’s not something he’s considered.
“This is where I want to be, and I see myself here for the extended future,” he said. “I really enjoy being at this principal level. Being able to be at the ground level here and work with the students and staff directly is an honor for me.”
Scullion has been at Houghton Middle School for the past eight years, mostly teaching eighth-grade math. Prior to that, she taught at the Good Will Farm and BRIDGE Alternative High School.
“I was really mostly interested in the idea that I’d get to work with the students I’d had in the past and increase the scope and number of students I could work with and impact and continue to watch them grow,” she said.
During winter break, Scullion was able to work with Klein before he moved over to the elementary school. She also learned from Filpus, who as middle school principal gave her general advice about administration.
Right now, Scullion’s focusing on building relationships with students and staff and getting a feeling for how the school operates.
“It allows me to come into the building in the middle of the process… kind of taking it all in and seeing how it goes and seeing where I can be of help and service to the staff and the students, what ways I can support them, and what ways I can make improvements for the coming year,” she said.
Scullion graduated from Michigan Technological University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics – secondary education. She is also working on her master’s degree in administration from NMU.
Her interest in teaching began when she attended Dollar Bay High School, where she tutored in math.
“We always talk about those lightbulb moments and ‘they’re really getting it,'” she said. “You help somebody build their confidence and see they can figure things out … it was such a rewarding thing to do at that time, and it really influenced me to pursue education as a field.”