Tahlequah High School Principal Natalie Cloud is excited about the upcoming school year, and she said district patrons can be assured that her marriage to the district athletic director does not constitute a conflict of interest.
Cloud's first day in her new position began July 1, and she said her plans as principal include returning the school to "normal" in the post-COVID-19.
"Student attendance is important, as we witnessed during the pandemic. Teachers are important to students, and this relationship is vital to academic success," said Cloud.
Cloud said her time in serving as a site level leader at Sequoyah High School and Central Academy allows her to have the necessary experience to lead Tahlequah High School. Serving as both an assistant principal and as a teacher means she'll not only be a better servant leader, but will have an insight into the needs of students and teachers, she said.
DeAnn Mashburn, executive director of human resources and secondary education at TPS, said she is glad someone she knows professionally is in the principal position.
At Tahlequah, Cloud has worked as a Spanish teacher, homebound teacher, mentor teacher, grant director, pom coach, leadership teacher, Boys & Girls Club teacher, bus driver, Student Council sponsor, alternative school director, and assistant principal. At Sequoyah High School, Cloud also worked as a principal from June 2020 to Oct. 2021.
"THS is a larger school, but with the excellent staff we have, the transition should be manageable," said Cloud.
Natalie Cloud addressed questions about her husband, TPS Athletic Director Matt Cloud. She said there will be no conflict of interest, as they each lead two different aspects of the school district.
TPS Superintendent Tanya Jones, who just assumed the district helm last month, agreed with Cloud. She said the couple's focuses are different, as the principal's job is centered on education and the athletic director's focal point is on exercise and athletics. Jones also said Matt Cloud will be reporting to her, and Natalie Cloud will answer to Mashburn.
Jones said this situation is not due to the couple's marital status, but rather because of their positions at the school, as TPS athletic directors do not report to the principal.
"There is a huge misconception that [Matt] reports to the principal position, but that has never been true at Tahlequah Public Schools. He reports to the superintendent, and I report to the executive director of secondary education," said Cloud.
Cloud said the administrative team's plan this school year is to prioritize learning and safety in their school environment.
The administrative team has created new goals for this school year, Jones said. These new objectives are to increase the academic environment, create a good culture for everyone involved with the school, and to maintain a safe and secure environment.
Mashburn said she believes Cloud will do well in leading her site and making sure all aspects, like their smart goals, are making good progress.
TPS will begin classes on Aug. 16, with an open house taking place on Aug. 15, from 4-7 p.m.