Moab Charter School names new director
by Laura Haley
Contributing Writer
Aug 07, 2014 | 904 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emma Weiss is the new director of the Moab Charter School. Photo by Laura Haley
Emma Weiss is the new director of the Moab Charter School. Photo by Laura Haley
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After six years under the direction of Joseph Heywood, the Moab Charter School has a new director. Emma Weiss, previously of Oahu, Hawaii, has been hired to replace Heywood, who has accepted a position with the Utah State Office of Education.

Weiss, who began her new position at Moab Charter School (MCS) on Aug. 4, has worked with a number of charter schools throughout the country, including spending the last three years as director of the largest charter school in the state of Hawaii.

Originally from England, Weiss grew up in New York. She received her master’s degree in social work from Boston University.

“I spent the next 15 or 16 years working directly in the social work field,” she said Aug. 5.

Eventually, Weiss accepted a job as the director of the Merrimack School, an alternative school in Massachusetts that provides learning options for students who may be struggling in a traditional school environment.

“Most of the students came to us because they had issues with their home schools,” she said.

The school population also included many students who were coming out of juvenile detention, she said.

When the cold northeastern winters got to be too much, Weiss took a job in Arizona, where she served as the principal of a small rural school near the Grand Canyon.

“We went through a federal school turnaround,” she said. “We went from an underperforming school to a performing plus school in just a few years.”

Weiss said that being offered the job in Hawaii came as a surprise.

“I stumbled across a job in Oahu, and I figured thousands of other people would apply for it,” she said.

The school, Kamaile Academy, is a large charter school.

“We had over a thousand students,” Weiss said.

During Weiss’ time at Kamaile, the school expanded and eventually accommodated students in preschool through 12th grade.

“We added a grade every year,” Weiss said. “Last year was our first high school graduation.”

Even though Weiss loved Hawaii, she said she missed living on the mainland. When her contract expired three years later, she decided it was time to relocate.

“I felt like I’d accomplished everything that I wanted to accomplish,” she said.

Weiss said she has visited Moab before and loved it, so when she saw the position at Moab Charter School, she applied.

“I love it out here,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to being here and getting to know the community.”

Weiss will be taking over just as MCS experiences a spike in enrollment. According to Kresta Garrett, the administrative assistant at MCS, the school currently expects to see between 130 and 135 students enrolled for the upcoming year.

“We had a big spike in second and fourth grade,” Garrett said. Both of those grades currently have waiting lists for interested students. While several of the grades haven’t filled up yet, Garrett said there are only a couple of spots left.

Heywood said that every few years the school will likely see a surge. However, because the school’s charter caps each class at 20 students, MCS will reach its maximum capacity at 140 students.

Although many of the classes are already full, Garrett said parents who are interested in the school may stop by the school’s office and speak with Garrett and Weiss to get their student’s name on the waiting list if necessary. Information is also available online.

“We have enrollment packets available on the website,” Garrett said.

In addition to a new director, MCS will also have two new teachers on staff. Gerlit Buffington will take over second grade and Krissy Post will be teaching fourth grade.

For more information about Moab Charter School visit the website: www.moabcharterschool.org.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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