Talk of the District: So Many Reasons We Can All Be Proud to be Ponies

The start of a new school year is always exciting. I am sure the smile on my face stretched from ear to ear this year as I watched our Pony students rush into their schools on the first day.

Stillwater Area Public Schools Superintendent Denise Pontrelli

Stillwater Area Public Schools Superintendent Denise Pontrelli

After two months on the job, it was so much fun to see our staff, students and families coming together and to feel the energy and enthusiasm we all bring to the new school year.

We are Ponies – from the biggest to the smallest – and we are truly a community.

I can say with great confidence that I am proud to be a Pony. I hope you are, too. Here’s a few reasons why we can all be proud.

Our Future is Bright

From the short time I have been in Stillwater, I’ve seen this community embrace excellence. I have seen students choosing to take enrichment classes during the summer, dedicating themselves to practicing an instrument or a sport, and exploring new topics they’re passionate about.

I’ve witnessed paraprofessionals, teachers, custodians, transportation, clerical, and food service staff, coordinators and principals working hard to make sure our students have a great experience at school.

And I’ve seen community members tirelessly working to raise money, organize events and volunteer in our schools in order to make a difference for our students. We are all working together to ensure a bright future.

We Have Opportunities to Change and Grow

Our community has given us an incredible chance to create new places and spaces for learning.

By adding preschool classes, creating middle schools and moving ninth grade to the high school we will be able to re-examine what learning looks like for our students across the system.

Change is inevitable. For some it can be scary. It’s rarely easy. But with it comes so many opportunities for us to grow and become better. We’ll be making a lot of decisions in the coming months that will have an impact on students for the next 10, 20, even 50 years. We will base all of our decisions on what is best for our students and what is desirable, feasible and sustainable by our organization.

We Care About One Another

It is evident, even to a new-comer like me, that this community truly cares about its students.

On the first day of school I saw principals giving high-fives and watched as kids wrapped their arms around their beloved teachers, paraprofessionals or custodians. Walking up to our buildings I saw beautiful flower gardens maintained by volunteers and incredible buildings maintained by our taxpayers. Our students succeed because they are cared for and they are loved.

This is an amazing community, and we have a unique opportunity to grow and build our schools for the next generation of learning. We are the Ponies and we’re all in this together.


Contact Superintendent Denise Pontrelli at or follow her on Twitter @drpontrelli.