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First day for more than students

New principal: ‘There’s nothing like it’

DIXON – Fourth-graders Jacob Gaither and Alexis McConnell were a little nervous Wednesday to be going to a new school.

Just a little bit.

Wednesday was the first day of classes for Dixon schools, and for Jacob and Alexis, their first day at Jefferson Elementary School.

That meant not only a new school, but also a new teacher and even a new principal for the two, who attended Lincoln Elementary last year.

“I’m getting to know people kind of, like my teacher Mrs. [Janet] Tschosik,” Alexis said.

It’s not so bad, Jacob said.

“Most of my friends are [in my class],” he said.

Jefferson’s new principal, Joey Sagel, was not as nervous. He worked the past 2 years as principal at AFC Elementary School, and he knows the excitement the first day of school brings.

He spent his morning helping lost students find their teachers and classrooms.

Students were dropped off by parents and organized into groups by their teacher in the back part of the building before school started.

Just before the school day was ready to begin, Sagel had to tell the remaining 2 dozen children on the playground that summer break was over and it was time for class, sending them into a sprint to get into their groups before they entered the building.

“It’s the usual first day,” Sagel said with a laugh. “There’s nothing like it. The kids come in really excited, and it’s just a matter of helping them and our teachers out, so it goes smoothly.”

Jefferson is one of three schools getting a new principal this year. Principal Jeff Gould moved from Jefferson to Washington and Principal Daniel Rick from Washington to Lincoln, as former Lincoln Principal Susan Johnson moves into a teaching position at Reagan Middle School.

“I’m glad the first day is here,” Sagel said after the hallways quieted down and all the students were in their classrooms. “It’s been a lot of paperwork getting things going, and now we’re finally into the school year.”

Fifth-grader Ally Simpson was getting her picture taken by her mom before she joined the rest of her classmates.

Ally isn’t new to Jefferson. This is her second year there and she’s looking forward to seeing familiar faces.

“I get to be with friends,” Ally said about what she is looking forward to most. She’s thinking about trying out for cheerleading and band.

Enrollment is up in the district: 2,802 students this year, compared to 2,787 last year.

The district office reported 438 students enrolled at Washington (kindergarten and first grade), 424 at Lincoln (second and third grades), 414 at Jefferson (fourth and fifth grades), 734 at Reagan Middle School and 792 at Dixon High School.

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