Back to school: Falmouth principal ready to make connections

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FALMOUTH — For Falmouth Elementary School’s new principal, Gloria Noyes, relationships are everything.

“This year will be a lot about learning for me,” Noyes said.

And Noyes does have plenty assigned to her, as she takes over a school with nearly 950 students. That’s a lot of names not just of students to learn, but of parents and siblings, too.

“That to me is a challenge, (and) I look forward to it,” she said.

Noyes began her career as a teacher in Westbrook. It was there she first met the man she just replaced, John Flaherty, who retired from FES this spring after more than a decade in the job. After 19 years as a teacher, Noyes became an assistant principal at the Fred P. Hall Elementary School in Portland, and then later became a principal in New Gloucester.

“I wasn’t looking to move,” she said, but was encouraged by others to apply for the Falmouth position. She said once she “did her homework,” she was impressed with Falmouth and “thought it was worth taking the risk.”

“The most important thing for me is to build relationships,” Noyes said of what she hoped to achieve this coming school year. She aims to build those relationships with staff, students, parents and the community beginning with the first day of school, Sept. 6.

“By having relationships you know what people’s passions are,” she said, adding that knowing a student’s passion helps in reaching their potential.

Superintendent of Schools Geoff Bruno said Falmouth is lucky to have Noyes, and praised her time in both Westbrook and New Gloucester.

“We’re so fortunate to have her join our leadership team and join our community. It’s exciting,” Bruno said. He added Noyes is “one of those rare people that connects with everyone she meets.”

Bruno said while Flaherty left “big shoes to fill,” Noyes is off to a great start.

“I think she will be the perfect person to keep us going in the right direction,” he said.

In addition to building relationships, Noyes said another goal this year is to “be a good listener,” pay attention to what the buildings need, and listen to what the community is asking for.

“It’s important for me to be seen as an active participant, a positive role model, and someone who cares about the whole person,” she said.

There will be continuity in school leadership, with both assistant principals from last year, Ryan Gleason and Jack Manjourides, still at FES. Noyes gives credit to them, as well as the rest of the FES staff, for the work they do. She said with high demands and expectations, the job can be very challenging, and she commended the staff on their performance.

“To me, it’s not about me. I’m here to lead the charge of what’s best and right for this school,” Noyes said about what she called “a team effort.”

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Gloria Noyes, center, Falmouth Elementary School principal, is flanked by Jack Manjourides, assistant principal for kindergarten through second grade, left, and Ryan Gleason, assistant principal for grades 3-5.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.