The new Principal of Hannibal’s Fairley Elementary School knows the school well.Â He used to be a teacher there.Â He used to be a student there.
“If you cut me, I bleed purple,” the school’s color, said Joseph Musa.Â Musa, who goes by Jody, was appointed to the executive position at the school last week.Â He was the choice of a screening committee that interviewed several finalists, but settled on Musa for the job.
“I was elated. I was very excited,” said Musa of learning that he’d been recommended for the job.
Musa is a 1987 graduate of the school district whose family has long roots in the district.Â He was hired as a teacher at Fairley but rose to an administrative position on the strength of his knowledge of classroom technology.Â This past year, he served as the second-in-command at the high school.
“I just always thought I could make more of a difference if I could work with more kids,” he said.Â “I really enjoy being an instructional leader.”
He will replace Roseann Schoonmaker, who is retiring.
Musa inherits a school on the upswing but heading into crisis.Â The district’s effort to come off the state Schools in Need of Improvement list succeeded at Fairley in large part because the school kept class sizes low and stressed a program called Reading First, which helped drive up reading test scores.
The district’s budget problem resulted in cuts to the Reading First program and a solid increase in class sizes for the upcoming year as teachers were either laid off or not replaced.Â Musa remains hopeful.
“Historically, the staff has done more with less and have stepped up to the place successfully,” Musa said.Â “We’ll work together to give the best education that all of our kids deserve.”