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Trinity elementary schools get new principal

DICKINSON - Dickinson's Peggy Mayer is the new elementary principal for the Dickinson Catholic Schools' Trinity East and Trinity West.

She is replacing Sister Dorothy Zeller, who was named superintendent of the Dickinson Catholic Schools earlier this spring.

Mayer has worked as a preschool teacher at Trinity Elementary West for the past three years. She was the unanimous choice of the interview committee, said Zeller.

"It will be a great fit. Peggy has great leadership skills and she has a great passion for Catholic education and particular for the Dickinson Catholic Schools," she said.

Mayer is working under provisional credentials while she completes her master's degree in administration, said Zeller.

Mayer is the daughter of former Dickinson residents Jim and Henrietta Nistler of Wilton, as she graduated from Dickinson's Trinity High School.

"My family was supportive of Catholic education. All eight of us -- the kids in my family -- went to Catholic schools," she said.

Mayer received a bachelor's degree from Dickinson State University in 1991, with a concentration in kindergarten and psychology. She held various jobs out of state -- California, New York, North Carolina and Michigan. She met and married Todd Mayer from Regent.

"When the kids were born, we decided Michigan wasn't a place to raise them, so we moved back to southwestern North Dakota," she said.

Todd works as an engineer at Dickinson's Steffes Corporation. Their children are Joe, a sixth grader, and Sarah, a third grader, who are enrolled in the Dickinson Catholic Schools.

Mayer was a stay-at-home mom until five years ago, when she started to get back into teaching. She was active as a parent in the Catholic schools, then as a teacher and now as an administrator.

"To me, the school is all about the family, the faith and the academics. If we grow in those three areas, I think we've done our job as an education program," she said.

As the elementary principal, she divides her time between the two buildings -- supervising and overseeing teachers and students. Her goal is to foster growth in the schools' academics, faith and enrollment.

"Our schools have a lot to offer. I'm not sure we advertise enough our after-school program, our strong academics, our faith-based program. One thing I'd like to do more of is promote the positive things our schools offer," she said.

Mayer views the position as an opportunity for growth.

"It will be a chance for me to grow professionally -- going back to school, a chance to use my leadership skills and a chance to be out there with the parents in the community," she said.

Mayer admits she will miss the students in her classroom, but can still greet them in the hallways.

"The kids I've talked to know I'm the principal. They're very excited. I think it will be great. I've gotten very positive feedback from parents and teachers. I think that will help me a lot," she said.

Family is important to the Mayers. They enjoy spending time with their children at baseball, softball, on bike rides, time at the lake, anything outside, she said.

Mayer is working with the faculty to get ready for the first day of school on Aug. 21. The Dickinson Catholic Schools (preschool-12) registration is from 12-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 6 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 7, at Trinity High School.

The Catholic schools start classes a week earlier than when the Mayers returned to Dickinson.

"This gives kids a chance to settle in. They need the week to connect with friends, to learn new rules and to meet new kids in school. They come back from Labor Day and hit the books," she said.