Sparta - On Aug. 29, Helen Morgan Elementary School welcomed its new principal, Michele Lind. Although Lind said she enjoyed her previous position as director of curriculum for the Vernon School District, a position she held for the past three years, she complained that it did not allow her to have as much contact with the children as she would have liked. She sees her skills being used more effectively as a principal where she can work directly with children. “My previous employment was a vast position, including every content area. I liked it, but I needed to be with kids. I’m more effective being with children and plan to be more hands on,” she said. Lind’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from Kane University, a master’s degree in reading education from William Paterson University and another master’s degree in education administration from Caldwell College. Lind is already working closely with Sparta officials and educators on the district’s curriculum to ensure children have the skills needed to meet the state’s expectations, and several changes in the school’s curriculum are expected. “We’ve just adopted a new math program. I’ve been working with the teachers on it, supporting them. The next area we are assessing is language arts, which is still in the preliminary stages,” said Lind. With a master’s degree in reading education, and three year’s experience as a literary specialist, Lind has great expectations for the language arts program and is enthusiastically approaching the challenge. “I’m excited about the changes in the language arts program because that’s my background. I have an opportunity to give my input in an area of my expertise,” she said. Keeping with her desire to have direct contact with her students, Lind can be seen roaming the halls to talk with the children, joining in the classrooms to lend a hand, guiding children through the parking lots to the correct buses and helping to supervise the cafeteria. “My role is to support the teachers and to be sure all the needs of the children are met during the day. I want to make sure the children feel safe and make certain they are comfortable. I want them to know they can see me at any time during their day,” she said. The first week of school she visited every classroom to introduce herself and talk with the kids. She joked with the older students they have been in the school longer and know the layout of the building better than she does. Lind encouraged them to guide her through the halls when they see her during the day because most likely, she will be lost. The children have gravitated toward her genuine kindness already, and when they see her in the halls, they grab her hand and walk together to show her the way. Lind feels she has been supported and welcomed into the community by Superintendent Morton Monks, the vice principal, the PTO, teachers, parents and students. And many parents have stopped in her office to say hello. “It’s a nice feeling knowing I’m not in here by myself. It’s been a wonderful experience, like a breath of fresh air,” she said.