OHS has a new building principal


TigerPaw Yearbook

The new OHS building principal, Mrs. Tamara Sunkett, gives a speech in the OHS library.

OHS students and staff will see a new face around the building starting in August.

    On April 12, the school district announced Ms. Tamara Sunkett has been selected as OHS building principal for the 2019-2020 school year. She will replace Mrs. Jan Kellerman who is retiring after 19 years as an administrator at OHS.

    Sunkett visited OHS on April 25 to tour the building and talk to faculty and staff. She officially starts July 1.

    Sunkett has been around schools her whole life– both her parents worked in education for over 40 years.

     “I knew very early that I wanted to be a teacher and that I wanted to be a part of education,” she said.

    Sunkett attended San Jose University on a basketball scholarship where she received her undergraduate degree in English, as well as her teaching certification. She began her teaching career in the Webster Groves School District where she taught English Language Arts and Communications. She later joined the Riverview Gardens School District as an English teacher and instructional coach.

    She then returned home to St. Louis and attended the University of Missouri – St. Louis where she earned her master’s degree in education administration.

    “I knew then that I wanted to go into administration and (be) a larger part of the school beyond the classroom,” she said.

    She worked as an administrator in the Edwardsville School District for eight years, and during that time was an elementary school principal and middle school assistant principal. After that, she then became the lead principal at Madison High School.

    “I was there for three years until I was asked to come back to the Riverview Gardens School District where I had once taught, as a part of a team to help restart the school district,” she said. “In that role I became the Assistant Superintendent of Leadership. I have had the awesome pleasure of supporting principals and teachers and students each day.”

    Sunkett said the innovative teaching and project-based learning the Mehlville School District is implementing is what piqued her interest in applying.

    “You all are going to live in a world that we can’t even imagine all the things that will exist, so because we can’t imagine and because they don’t exist, it’s hard for us to prepare you for this thing or that thing,” she said. “What we can prepare you to do is to be thinkers, and innovators, and creators so whatever that world looks like, you guys are out there and you’re making great things happen.”

    When she found out she received the position, she felt “a balance of excitement and eagerness to come in and be a part of all the wonderful things that are going on.” As with all new employments, Sunkett said there was also a bit of nervousness as well. Despite this, she felt happy overall.

    “When you come into a great staff and a great student body, you really have the pressure of making sure you come in and you help to continue that,” she said. “I’m just super excited about the opportunity and can’t wait to get started.”