New PHS principal comes with solid experience, education

Updated: Mar 18

Pleasanton math teacher Sara Conley was chosen to be principal of the junior high and high school last week by the Pleasanton USD 344 Board of Education. (Submitted photo)

When Sara Conley was hired last week to be the next principal of Pleasanton High School and junior high, it wasn’t a surprise to many who know her.

Since she came to teach at Pleasanton USD 344 in the fall of 2020, she has made her mark as a math teacher for both seventh- and eighth-graders as well as applied math students in the high school.

But Conley’s career and education backgrounds made the school board’s choice to hire her an easy one. And it helped that current principal Mitch Shaw and district Superintendent Travis Laver helped her to decide to apply for the position, she said.

In a separate interview, Laver said he was very pleased, not only that Conley decided to apply for the job, but that the school board offered her a contract

Conley said that working the past year and a half in a smaller district had given her an appreciation of the opportunity it affords educators. Her work as a math teacher here was her first taste of education in a small town.

After graduating from a large high school in the Dallas area, she attended Emporia State University. She graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in education and shortly after landed her first teaching job, starting with the fall 2006 semester.

After being a math coach for a semester, she then took a job teaching math in Denison, Texas, for another large school district.

She earned a master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and then landed a job as an assistant principal in Springdale, Ark., for the largest school district in the state.

While her experience has been with larger schools, a couple things changed the course of her career. First, in 2019 she married Shawn Conley, a Pleasanton native, and as a couple they relocated to Pleasanton. Next, she was hired to teach math at the Pleasanton schools.

Conley said she had very much enjoyed her job as a math teacher at PHS. “It’s been a ton of fun,” she said.

But more than that, she said, the size of the school gives educators closer contact with students to help guide them. “You get to be a part of who they’re going to be.”

She added that any time educators are more involved in a child’s education, the more opportunity there is for growth.

Conley has three children – a kindergartener, a third-grader and an eighth-grader – in Pleasanton schools. And she is working now on getting her superintendent’s certification from Pittsburg State University.

She will begin her duties as principal officially on July 1.

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