Jeff Haynie was the principal at Solley Elementary for six years, but to the school community, he could not be defined by that one title.
“My favorite thing about Mr. Haynie is that he would never ask anyone to do anything that he wouldn't do himself,” said Amanda Wahle, president of Solley’s PTA. “He leads by example. If cafeteria needs a lunch monitor and no one is free, he is in there. A teacher needs assistance in a classroom, Haynie arrives. Copy paper moved? He is your guy. Rain, sleet or snow, Mr. Haynie is the welcoming face that students see on their way into school, and the ‘have a great day’ they hear on the way out.”
Haynie will now be the welcoming face at Rolling Knolls Elementary School, which sent its principal, Shira Dowling, to Solley.
Asked about his favorite memories as Solley’s principal, Haynie said he cherished the relationships he built with students, families and teachers.
“I’m most proud of the strong relationships that were built and the growth I saw in all of our students whether it was the social and emotional aspect or the learning aspect,” Haynie said.
During his tenure, the student population grew and Solley was granted six new classrooms by the Board of Education.
“It was just more children, which is wonderful because we had more children whose lives we could make an impact on,” Haynie said.
Two of Haynie’s children attended prekindergarten at Solley, but he cared for all of the students as if they were his own.
“Mr. Haynie is a person whose love and care for his students, teachers, staff, volunteers and parents overflows from his heart,” Wahle said. “Every student in his school he treats as if they were one of his own. He values hard work, kindness and opportunities that allow for growth. He is a person that believes in his team and their ability to do great work.”
Haynie added, “It was really cool that the students just promoted to middle school were my first kindergartners at Solley, so that was very special.”
Wahle’s son, Hayden, is one of the students who enjoyed seeing Haynie every weekday. “He is nice, helpful, welcomes [me] every morning, and always tells people when they are doing a good job,” said Hayden, who will be a third-grader this September.
As a mom, Wahle watched Hayden celebrate his successes with Haynie. “Hayden is a stronger, more confident student because he has had an amazing example of kindness, strength and compassion in Mr. Haynie,” she said.
After starting his new position at Rolling Knolls on July 1, Haynie admitted he was sad to say goodbye to Solley, but he is also excited to start a new chapter.
“Change is hard, but at the same time, it’s exciting because it allows you to grow in ways you wouldn’t grow if that change hasn’t taken place,” Haynie said. “I believe we are constantly growing and learning. My hope is to help other people grow and learn as I have.”