Lowes' New Principal Sees Job as 'Field of Dreams'
By Paul Schaumburg, Graves County Schools
LOWES, KY - Lowes Elementary School’s new principal sees something special when he looks at the Graves County school he was hired to lead this fall.
“Field of Dreams is an awesome movie to me because I used to be a baseball player,” said Marc Mavigliano. “For some reason, this reminds me of Field of Dreams.”
“Maybe it’s because we’re in a rural area and right here there are so many possibilities for these students and this school,” Mavigliano added, upon further reflection. “I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do know that this is the place for me to be right now. I am so thankful to be here.”
Mavigliano grew up near Carbondale, Ill., the son of two teachers. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication on a baseball scholarship to Kentucky Wesleyan and even completed a year of graduate school in his hometown at Southern Illinois University before deciding mass media wasn’t the career for him.
It was while playing semi-pro baseball for the Paducah Chiefs that he met his future wife, Tish Ellington, through her brother, Kip. So, Jerald Ellington, Graves County High School’s first principal, is his father-in-law and grandfather to the Maviglianos’ two children.
Mavigliano took a job with Fruit-of-the Loom, the well-known underwear manufacturer, ultimately rising to key accounts administrator, charged with keeping Dollar General and other major clients supplied and happy. After his wedding, he accepted a job as a supervisor at the General Tire plant in Mayfield.
Upon graduation in 1999, he began teaching in the Paducah schools, first at Clark Elementary, then at Paducah Middle School.
“I was fortunate to get the opportunity to go to work for the McCracken County Schools in 2005,” he said. “It’s a larger district, like Graves County, with a lot of opportunities. I’d gotten a master’s degree in counseling at MSU and became a counselor at Lone Oak Middle School. I never really imagined being in administration. But, as you evolve, you see other opportunities. I attended a brain-based learning conference and that evolved into a curriculum instructor job, as a curriculum coach at our school. I love the life of learning and went on to earn national board certification in special education.”
“Mr. Mavigliano comes to us very instructionally-focused and data-driven,” said Assistant Superintendent Kim Harrison, who takes the reigns as Graves County superintendent July 1. “He’s very sound in the accountability system. He has some assistant principal experience and he’s very knowledgeable about the importance of building relationships. I think he will be a strong presence in the Lowes community and in the Graves County Schools.”
He completed a second master’s degree at MSU, this one in administration.
He found himself serving as assistant principal of more than 800 students at Lone Oak Elementary School. While that, too, was an enriching experience, he saw a contrast at Lowes.
“What really appealed to me about this school (of approximately 300 students) is that it’s much more manageable,” he explained. “Lowes already has some great things going on and I just want us to expand on that. I also want to learn from these teachers through math in focus and other programs they have. Graves County has the reputation of high expectations, of getting the most out of students and staff. When this opportunity came up, I didn’t want to pass up a great chance for me to not only contribute, but to learn and grow myself.”
“I think he is uniquely qualified, with a tremendous background in both administration and teaching,” said Jim Nygaard, a member of Lowes’ SBDM Council. “That was one of the requirements we set up. We found a lot of applicants had significant amounts of one or the other – teaching or administration. But, we think he has both and that he really fits the bill. There are so many good people in the Graves County Schools, it was difficult for some on the council to go outside the district, but he has so many positive qualities, I think he not only will do a great job at Lowes, but bring ideas to the district that can benefit all of Graves County’s schools, teachers, and students.”
Ray Kinsella obeyed a voice that kept telling him, “Build it and he will come.” Marc Mavigliano couldn’t silence the voice in his heart that told him to teach, then to expand his influence in educating children, and most recently to come to Lowes Elementary School.
“There are very few things in life where you don’t have reservations and, for me, this is one of them. It feels like a sure thing,” Mavigliano explained. “I should be nervous right now, but I’m not because this is such a great school! I know I have a support system in place. Other principals have come here tonight to show their support, along with central office staff, and so many teachers. I really believe this is the ideal situation for me.” In other words, it’s his own version of a field of dreams.