Marian L. Wolak
South Dover Elementary School
Capital School District
Dover, Delaware

Marian Wolak’s “challenging yet rewarding task” of the summer of 2009 was to move out of her old school building and into a new one. Wolak has been principal of South Dover Elementary since 2003. Today South Dover serves 474 kindergarten through grade 4 students. More than 85 percent of the children free or discounted lunches. When Wolak began her principalship, the literacy rate among students was 52 percent. During the past seven years, she has increased the literacy rate to between 77 percent and 83 percent. As a result, area school leaders designated South Dover a Superior School for the 2008-2009 school year. From the start, Wolak focused her entire school on boosting student learning. As part of a strategic plan for school improvement, she enlisted well-respected teachers to chair school committees and implement activities. Under Wolak’s leadership, the school has increased positive communications with parents. It also has decreased student misbehavior on buses and in school. These changes, in turn, have improved the school climate. In recent years, Wolak helped a local referendum pass in order to fund the new school building. She also assisted in designing the layout and color scheme, purchasing furniture and technology, and choosing landscaping for the site. Wolak has a B.S. from Duquesne University in Pennsylvania and an M.Ed. from the University of Delaware.