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New Leadership at Sunset Lake Elementary

Amie McCaw, new principal at Sunset Lake.
Amie McCaw, new principal at Sunset Lake.

By Sue Moore

Amie McCaw is the new principal at Sunset Lake School. She is not new to Vicksburg. She has lived in the Vicksburg community since 2000 and was a teacher in the system before moving to Gull Lake and then to Schoolcraft as elementary principal.

In a building that houses over 500 students and 36 staff members, her goal for the 2015-16 school year is to get acquainted with her teachers with one on one meetings. She prides herself in having an open door policy and will work to visit the classrooms each week. “I need to get to know each teacher’s style and their instructional focus in the classroom,” she said.

While in Gull Lake she experienced Steven Covey’s “Leader in Me” concept that she then brought successfully to Schoolcraft during her three years there. Also among her goals will be to see how this concept can be instituted at Sunset by working through the team of teachers and support staff. The concept Covey teaches is for the adults to let go and let the voice of the kids come out as leaders in their own right. Once the students understand that they can take command of their own destiny, great things can happen in the classroom, McCaw said.

McCaw congratulated the Sunset staff, headed by Principal Pat Moreno and Instructional Consultant Jaime Masco, in moving the elementary from a state designated ‘focus’ school in just two years to being released from this status in 2014-15. It involved a tremendous dedication to closing the learning gap of all the students from the highest to the lowest testing students, she acknowledged. “The teams’ commitment to work day and night has paid big dividends.”

She also mentioned the work of the PTA. This volunteer group of parents has really made a difference in the physical attributes of the building and the playgrounds. According to Lucas Hilliard, PTA president, $25,000 of that organization’s fundraising money has been spent in the last two years to upgrade outdoor equipment and construct an indoor climbing wall.

“We did simple things like soccer poles, funnel ball installations, and basketball hoops. Big things got done too, with playground chain link fencing for safety purposes built around three sides of the building, and cutting down of brush and trees on the south side that had become overgrown,” said Hilliard as he ticked off the list of PTA accomplishments. In all these efforts they were assisted by donations from parents, the Vicksburg Rotary Club, the school administration, and private individuals. The PTA workers who helped out included Rob Moughton, Steve Buell, Jeff Visser, and Boy Scout Troop 251 through Tanner White’s Eagle Scout project.

McCaw was born and raised in Mendon, where her father and two uncles started TH Plastics, when it was known as the Haas Corporation, then Lear Siegler. A brother, Chris Haas, is president now and her husband Mike is vice president. She is equally proud of another brother, Joe Haas, who is an attorney in Sturgis and recently named Citizen of the Year. Yet another, Dan, is a middle school principal at Lake Orion. She said he is a great asset to her as the brother she often goes to as a resource. “I’m hoping to become even more involved in the Vicksburg community, just like my parents and siblings have taught me, through their efforts in Mendon, Lake Orion, and Sturgis,” McCaw said.

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