Incline’s new principal wants to bring back celebrations, ritual

Miranda Jacobson

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Incline High School earlier this year welcomed Tierney Cahill as its new principal. And with the new school year just around the corner, Cahill said she’s ready to try to give the students what they’ve been waiting for for the last two years.

“Normalcy!” said Cahill. “A return to normalcy, and I think creating a really positive environment.”

Principal Cahill is an advocate for Project Based Learning, rituals, and celebrations in schools. Her first effort to return to normalcy will be a motivational speaker on the first day of school for students. Provided Miranda Jacobson

Cahill, who most recently taught at Alice Maxwell Elementary School in Sparks, has moved between her passion for elementary and high school education for the last few years, but said that Incline High is the perfect fit for her.

“I think I just missed high school,” said Principal Cahill. “I loved Maxwell, we have such a great staff and community, but I was looking for the right fit in a high school. And I think a small high school is just ideal because you can really get a lot done.”

One of the biggest goals that Cahill has for the students this year is to bring celebration and ritual back to campus in every way they can, while still following COVID-19 safety procedures and working together as a community to make the experience as normal as possible.

“The past year and a half has taught us a lot, and I think that kids are actually super resilient and they actually handle masks really well,” Cahill said. “They want to be in school. They want to be around peers. They want the social interaction and the stuff that the school provides.

Principal Cahill is thrilled to have the backing of the community as she embarks on her newest journey at Incline High School. Provided Miranda Jacobson

“I think even the CDC is really recognizing that even as this new variant, while it is worrisome, they’re recognizing the importance of kids being in school, after the past year and a half of kids being out of school, the emotional issues,” she added. “So I’m fully onboard, ready to go, and can’t wait to get the kids in here.”

Some of the ways Cahill and Incline High plan on starting off the school year is through a speaker on the first day that’s going to be bringing in high energy and talk about leadership and positivity. Then, they’re jumping into celebrations.

“I think rituals and celebrations are really important, and you know, homecoming starts right off… we have juniors that have never experienced that. So kind of reinstituting those kinds of traditions again, which in a small town is so fun.”

Cahill, who has a history advocating for Project Based Learning, said that this year, the school will be focused on opening up opportunities for students through pilot internship programs, and encouraging teachers to take students outdoors and socially distance for classes in order to bring some sort of normalcy.

But the thing that Cahill is most excited for going into her time with Incline High is the support from the community for not only the school, but the students.

“I’m so impressed by this community and how they back this school,” said Cahill. “From the Incline Education Fund ladies that are just remarkable and are constantly asking how they can help, to the David and Cheryl Duffield Foundation, that just wants this to be the best school in the nation and are asking for innovative ways for kids to learn, so all kids can be successful.

“I just really appreciate that kind of commitment to all kids and I’ve never been anywhere that has so much support before,” she continued. So I can’t tell you how wonderful it’s been. It feels like, how could we not be successful with the community behind us, right?”

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