By: Griffin Anderson, Contributing Writer
Dr. Mary Decker is serving Centralia Intermediate School in a new role for the 2021-2022 school year. Decker is a Title 1 Reading Specialist/Instructional Coach, after spending the 2020-2021 school year as the 5th Grade Reading Teacher at CIS.
Decker brings a wealth of experience in education with her to this new role. She has taught grades 1, 3, 4 and 5, along with Title 1 Reading in both public and private schools. She has worked as a research project manager, which allowed her to collect data on how middle school students read. She also worked as an instructional designer, which allowed her to help professors learn how to be effective teachers. Currently, Decker teaches classes for soon-to-be teachers at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Decker explained what her new role will entail.
“This is a new role for the district, so it is an evolving role. Part of my time will be spent teaching students who need extra reading help in a small group setting. Part of my time will be spent collaborating with teachers to help them determine best practices to meet their students’ needs,” said Decker.
Decker previously worked for the Centralia School District, prior to her return in 2020.
“I believe in the power of a strong community and a strong education system. I wanted to come back to the district that supported me when I was learning how to teach so that I could support others. Centralia feels like home, I want to be a part of the good things that happen here. I appreciate the home-school balance that Centralia allows me to have,” said Decker.
Decker holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Columbia College, a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Ph.D. in Special Education with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities in Reading, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is married to Jared Decker, who is a professor in the Division of Animal Sciences at MU. She has four children: Mea, who is a junior at CHS; Jaden, a 7th grader at CBMS; Jensen, a 6th grader at CBMS; and Maesyn, a 2nd grader at CES. In their free time, they enjoy visiting national parks together and supporting each other in their various interests.
Decker added, “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such an awesome group of people! Last year, I was welcomed back with open arms and I appreciate all the support. It’s a great day to be a Panther!”