Trish Elcombe settled in as new principal at East Oxford Central Public School

By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes

Trish Elcombe has settled into her new role as principal at East Oxford Central Public School.

Trish Elcombe has settled into her new role as principal at East Oxford Central Public School.

It’s been a busy few months, but Trish Elcombe is settling in nicely to her role as the new principal at East Oxford Central Public School.

Elcombe comes from her most recent position as vice principal at Winchester Street Public School in Woodstock. She takes over for Annie Tims, who transferred to a Drumbo public school at the end of June.

“It’s a wonderful community,” said Elcombe, explaining that students, staff and parents have been welcoming and supportive as she has transitioned into the position.

“I ask for feedback and they give me feedback,” said Elcombe.

Her schedule for the first few months has included a lot of off-site training, including management training to help her with some of the administrative duties involved in being a principal, such as budgeting and facilities management.

Elcombe said one big change in coming to East Oxford has been moving from a position where she worked with an administrative partner - the principal. East Oxford is a single administrator school without a vice principal. Elcombe said there is a wealth of resources at the school, but ultimately the responsibility is all on her.

“I’m a learner,” she said. “You can’t be in a role like this and not be a lifelong learner.”

Elcombe’s learning has taken her on what she calls a winding road of a career.

“When I started, I thought I was going to be a vocal music teacher for 20-plus years,” she said. “I was the one who said I never wanted to be an administrator. Never say never.”

In her 25 years, Elcombe has been a primary teacher at various Oxford County schools, took a special assignment in early literacy, spent some time on a special project in Winnipeg, and taught special education.

Now that her training schedule is beginning to ebb, Elcombe said her focus will be on the school’s goal of numeracy skills and helping the students to grow into good global citizens. But that doesn’t mean she won’t be bustling around the school, being as visible as possible while managing the day-to-day operations.

“It’s all good, because it’s all for the benefit of the students ultimately – everything that we’re doing.”