Megan Marino knew a little bit about Brookfield through friends who had worked in town, and friends of her son, who races four-wheelers.
“I’ve always heard great things about Brookfield,” Marino said. “I’d say, especially over the past year or so, with the innovativeness that’s really brought this (school) district to the forefront, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
She became a part of it when the Brookfield Board of Education hired her in July as the new high school principal, replacing Kristen Foster, who slid into the job of director of teaching, learning and accountability when Adam Lewis left the district.
Marino started her academic career as a high school social studies teacher in Rogers, Ark., in 2000, then took the same position with the Life Skills Center of Trumbull County in 2002. She worked her way into administration at Life Skills, and took the job of assistant high school principal at Harding High in Warren in 2012. She was supervisor of school improvement for Warren City Schools from 2015 until taking the job with Brookfield.
“I needed a change,” said Marino, who lives in Niles. “The opportunity presented itself, number one, to come back to high school, but, two, to lead my own building again. I really enjoy just leading and bringing the community together and the teachers and the students. I know it’s not sunshine and rainbows all the time, but it brings joy to be able to lead and watch people grow.”
One of the first things Marino did upon settling in her new office was to conduct brief, voluntary interviews with Brookfield High School teachers, educational assistants and the office secretary to get to know the staff’s needs, traditions and values.
“We’re gonna work on the consistency and the culture in our high school,” Marino said. “They (staff) value relationships, and I think that us coming together more as a family, really valuing each other’s expertise, and giving teachers, staff, the opportunity to show their gratitude, to show what their strengths are, to learn from each other and share best practices, that’s really gonna be the starting point, and then obviously there’s some things with consistency of expectations of kids and for adults that we’re gonna work on.”
Marino, who is studying for a doctorate in educational leadership at Youngstown State University, said she plans to be in classrooms “a lot,” and to get to know her 300 students, which is less than a third of the number of students she worked with in Warren. She wants to learn how she can “best support” those students, she said.
A co-owner – with her husband – of Marino’s Custom Concrete, Marino said she treasures that Brookfield emphasizes the real-world skills that are taught through the Maker Space, the pre-apprenticeship program and the industrial credentialing programs.
“I’ve had relatives and friends who have struggled to find jobs because they don’t have that certification,” she said. “They’re good at what they do. You just need that credential. I think that’s a great thing that we offer here.”
Marino said she will never ask her staff to do anything that she wouldn’t do herself, but expects “professionalism, positivity and productivity,” from the staff.
“I want to lead by example, fair and consistent, positive,” she said.