New Charles
Hoffman Elementary
Principal settles in

Jul 15, 2021 | Front Page

Meet Megan Dieli

By Mary-Justine Lanyon

For 22 years Southern California native Megan Dieli has worked in education. Most of those years have been in the classroom. Then, Dieli said, she decided to go into administration.

She served as assistant principal of Filmore Middle School for two years and then went into the Educational Services department.

“After all those years in the classroom,” Dieli said, “I felt I was able to make a stronger impact on the school. I could teach the teachers and get to know students from multiple grade levels and classrooms.”

Dieli now calls Charles Hoffman Elementary School home as the principal at the K-5 school in Running Springs. She is knowledgeable about this age student as she taught grades two through five and also taught sixth-grade math, science, English and history.

Her own education includes a liberal arts degree from Pepperdine and two master’s degrees, one in educational technology and one in educational administration.

She had moved to the mountains last October, buying a home in Crestline that backs up to the national forest.
“I always loved coming to the mountains,” Dieli said. “I love the seasons, love nature.” She enjoys hiking, fishing, “being with the trees. I find it very calming to be up here,” she said.

After she and her husband, Nicholas, sold their home in Simi Valley, they moved to the mountain with two of their children: Riley, 16, who will be a junior at Rim High; and Scout, a fourth-grader. Sabrina, 25, lives in Oxnard, where she is a massage therapist, and Francesca, 20, is a preschool teacher.

The Dieli family also includes Megan’s father, who is facing some health issues. “I took last year off to care for him,” she said. After he fell and broke his shoulder, they made the decision to move him into a care facility as she could no longer care for him as he required.

“He loved being here,” Dieli said, adding that her father had lived in the Lake George, N.Y., area so “he loved being in the trees and in nature. He felt more like he was at home. It was peaceful for him.”

When the principal’s position at CHE became available – with the retirement of Marlynn Humphries – Dieli made the decision to apply for the job.

“I’m very excited to be back in an educational assignment,” she said. “I wasn’t planning to apply anywhere else. It’s important to me to work in the community where I live. I’m looking forward to serving the children here on the mountain.” Dieli added that, had the CHE principal job not come up, she had plans to go back into the classroom and work her way back up again.

Dieli knew that CHE is a small school, something that appeals to her and that she is used to. The Filmore district, she said, was similar in size to the Rim district.

“I heard from everyone that CHE is like a family,” she said. “Everyone works together toward student achievement.” Dieli added that’s something she had in Aurora, Colo. “Everyone there worked together toward the betterment of the school.”

Dieli was pleased to learn that CHE is big on PBIS – Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. In fact, CHE earned a silver medal for its efforts. “I would like to continue those efforts,” she said, “and work toward a gold award.”

The philosophy behind PBIS calls for intervening with positive recognition, Dieli said. “You improve the behavior of the school through positive relationships with adults.” Where PBIS is in place, attendance is usually very high and discipline low.

Dieli recognizes how excited the students are going to be to return to the classroom on Aug. 11. During the past year of distance learning, “the teachers worked hard to do everything they could virtually. We will need to fill in achievement gaps to get the students where we want them to be.

“We will be starting fresh, heading in a positive direction, getting back to normalcy,” Dieli said. She plans to have a “welcome back” assembly within the first week. The school’s mascot, Rocky Raccoon, will be there.

Dieli will be a very hands-on principal, making frequent visits to all the classrooms. “My philosophy is people during the day, paperwork after they go home,” she said. “I want to get to know the students, the teachers and their style of teaching. Since it’s a small school, I will get to know each student by name, needs and skills.”

Meanwhile, Dieli has been exploring the mountain, climbing up into the fire lookout at Strawberry Peak, kayaking on Lake Gregory, hiking to Heart Rock. Her son, Scout, caught his first fish while trolling from a kayak. “It’s nice to be outside – to get the kids away from technology.”

Dieli feels she has a tough act to follow as “everyone loved Marlynn.” She will be careful not to disrupt all the “wonderful things” already going on.

In addition to serving as CHE principal, Dieli is also the school district’s new community liaison. In that position, she said, “I will create as many opportunities as possible for parents to be involved in partnership with the schools. We can’t reach our goals without everyone working toward student success.”

And by everyone, Dieli means the entire community, not just the parents. “There are so many businesses who could support our schools in their own unique ways. I will be reaching out to local businesses to see how they can contribute, invite them to our events.” She will be working with the other principals as well as district administrators.

Dieli gets excited as she talks about nature coming right to her doorstep in the form of a mama, papa and baby bears. They also see coyotes at all hours and have had a bobcat stroll past. She hasn’t seen the mountain lion but has heard there is one in her area.
“I don’t ever plan to leave the mountain,” Dieli said.



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