Trinity High names principalCarter Fong is beginning another chapter in his educational career. Having taught at Trinity High School for the last four years, he was named principal on July 1. He replaces Rocky Cofer.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Carter Fong is beginning another chapter in his educational career. Having taught at Trinity High School for the last four years, he was named principal on July 1. He replaces Rocky Cofer.
“The goal for the first day of the first week is to learn every student’s name in the building,” he said. “I’ve spent some time with every group, except the seventh graders, so I have only a handful of names to learn.”
A native of Dickinson, Fong went through the Dickinson Public School system, graduating from Dickinson High School in 2002. He is the son of Brad Fong, a DHS graduate and Brenda Fong, a Trinity High graduate.
“I’ve always had connections in both school systems,” he said. “There certainly used to be a rivalry among the schools, but now we work together more often than compete, certainly in athletics.”
Fong is a 2006 graduate of North Dakota State University.
“I requested a student teaching experience in southwestern North Dakota and I was placed in Trinity,” he said. “It was a good fit for me.”
After completing the student teaching experience in the fall of ’06, he substitute-taught in the Catholic schools and public schools.
“I was hired the following spring at Trinity as a part-time social studies teacher and part-time teacher in the resource room,” he said.
For the last two years, he has taught social studies and religion.
“I was a three-sport coach,” he added. “I coached Legion baseball, boy’s tennis and junior varsity girl’s basketball.”
He will no longer coach, but will remain as advisor for Acalympics and Close-Up.
Fong accepted the principal’s position with a provisional administrative license.
“I started my master’s program at the University of Mary,” he said. “I expect to finish the master’s program in 2012.”
While Fong has enjoyed teaching, a long-term goal has been to work as a secondary principal or administrator.
“I didn’t necessarily think the opportunity would come so soon, certainly, but I put a lot of thought into it before applying,” he said. “It will be different for me and different for the students who have seen me in the past as a teacher and now in administration.”
As a principal, Fong has an opportunity to make a positive change in the lives of the students.
“I get to celebrate their successes and other issues that come up,” he said. “Students learn by dealing with consequences. As long as we have clear and consistent rules and policies, students will understand that.”
He values the years of service by the veteran Trinity teachers.
“I will take a lot of feedback from them — that’s important,” he said.
He expects to work closely with Superintendent Darrin Roach and with the Elementary Principal Peggy Mayer.
“Mr. Roach has quite a bit of experience of Catholic administration — I can go to him for advice,” he said. “You never want to deal with issues as an island. Always look for people to bounce ideas off of.”
Enrollment in Trinity, grades 7-12, stood at 230 students as of Wednesday.
“We’ve added roughly a dozen students and kept everybody back in our building,” he said. “We have retained all 36 seniors. Every other grade has added a couple new faces.”
Earlier projections stood at 27 seventh graders, but the number has climbed to 33, he added.
Looking to the upcoming year, Fong said, “We have plenty of growth in the community and southwestern North Dakota and I hope to see that in the building, as well.”
“One area I think I can be a leader is integrating technology into education,” he said. “I grew up with cell phones and Facebook — we’re trying to find ways to bring technology into the classroom and to use it appropriately.”
Fong is looking forward to the first day of school.
“It’s enjoyable. I’ve been in the building all summer long, but we haven’t had the kids,” he said. “They bring all kinds of energy into the building. I’m looking forward to seeing their smiling faces again.”
Brian Rummel, vice chairman of the Dickinson Catholic Schools Board, described Fong as a very respected individual in the school system.
“He is highly respected by students, staff and parents,” he said. “What’s really impressed me the most is he was very highly recommended by his peers and parents, as well.”
He believes the key character that he brings to the system is a personality that fits into the school system.
“What the board is really excited about is the combination of administration,” Rummel added. “With grade school Principal Peggy Mayer and Superintendent Roach, we will have a great administrative team.”