Perry Elementary principal Trevor Miller, and associate principal Joel Martin, didn’t know each other when they applied for their jobs in the Perry School District, but they have discovered they have similar administrative styles and reasons they were attracted to Perry schools. "We have more of a team approach," Miller said. "We will support each other in the roles we take on."

Miller, 39, describes himself as a "mostly Democratic" administrator. "I like to get input from the community and staff, because that leads to buy-in, but sometimes decisions have to be made. But, I don’t make decisions without reasons and data behind those decisions," he said.

Martin, 32, echoed those thoughts, saying they are both here to create the best learning environment they can for the students. One of Martin’s duties will be to see that teachers are getting and learning what they need to better teach students.

Both Miller and Martin will co-direct the preschool program at the elementary school and oversee two other pre-schools in Perry.

They both liked the idea of working in a school district and a community with a diverse population. Miller grew up in Denison where there is a diverse population. He attended Buena Vista University and went on to teach for 10 years at Pleasantville. Before coming to Perry he was the elementary principal at the Melcher/Dallas schools.

"It is interesting to work with students from diverse populations. They add richness to the school. I enjoy seeing how the school can help them," he said. Perry Elementary is currently 50-55 percent Hispanic.

This school year will begin with more than 800 elementary students

Martin also was attracted by the cultural diversity. "Right form College my wife and I went to Honduras. From there we went to Texas where I was a fourth grade teacher for four years," Martin said. He then went on to Wichita, Kan., where he worked as a reading specialist. He and his wife moved back to Iowa, where he took a job with West Central School District.

But, he said, he had a

goal of becoming an administrator, and when he found out about the Perry job, he applied.

Miller said he knows this first year at the helm at Perry Elementary will be a year of building relationships and getting to know the school and the community. There will be an open house from 5-7 p.m. on Aug. 20 at Perry Elementary. Teachers and staff will be on hand so students can see their classrooms and meet their teachers.

One of the first moves the team has made is to move the classrooms around to better align the age groups and grade levels. One part of the building will be for students in third through fifth grade, while the other area of the building will be for students in pre-kindergarten through second grade. That type of arrangement helps the school better share resources, and places students of closer age groups together, Miller said.

Joel added, "It creates a school within a school."