Eileen Dreiling, principal of Augusta Middle School, has announced that she will retire at the end of this school year, her 37th as an educator.
Dreiling spent two years teaching before being hired by Augusta USD 402 in 1978 as high school physical education and health instructor. She also taught psychology and her administrative positions before AMS principal included Dean of Students at Augusta High School and AHS Assistant Principal.
Dreiling was active as a sponsor and coach in volleyball, track, cheerleading, Student Council, and as Senior Class sponsor.
There are students walking the halls of AMS who are children of her former students.
“I feel lucky. I’ve always enjoyed coming to work. I have never regretted being in education. Are there bad days? Sure, but you come back the next day and see how to make things better,” she said.
Dreiling feels the two most important changes in education she has seen are the accountability of state assessments and the social culture.
“We always taught to standards and looked to those standards. But we saw what developed with those assessments - teachers didn’t have the flexibility to teach anything that wasn’t on the tests,” she explained.
She has witnessed the effect that technology has had in education and on both the teachers and students.
“It’s a good thing, especially for communication. It takes us outside of this school. Some classes have communicated with other students in other countries,” she added, “I’ve seen it help some kids who may not be as social as others. They’re able to use their computers to interact with others in playing games and networking.”
She’s quick to explain that for teachers the new technology created a learning curve, demanding more time from them and in some cases causing more work. “But don’t try to take that tool away from them now - they’ve given a lot of time into making it work successfully.”
Working hard and accepting responsibility comes natural to her and she firmly believes an educator should have passion for teaching.
As an administrator she endeavored to keep a balance. She wanted to be approachable for the students, but she also had to be an authority figure for them, as well.
“I love the kids. They may not always know it at the time, but I do,” she said with a smile.
Dreiling is thankful for many great moments as an educator, but she says she’s most proud when helping a student - even just a little bit - with a personal crisis and to know that life got better and worked out for them.
Page 2 of 2 - “Of course, I loved qualifying for the state volleyball tournament and winning the state tournament in 1982!”
Immediate plans after the school year includes more time with her children, Hanna, Heidi and Harrison. She and her daughters will be spending a few days on the beach in San Diego in June.
It may be time to pursue some other interests. But don't expect her to distance herself from education.
“I want to take time to see what life brings. I’m not leaving the area and I may put my name in for substituting,” she continued, “It’s a good time for me to retire. It’s a good time for Augusta Middle School and it’s a good time for some one new to take it to a new level.”