New superintendent tells her story

Superintendent of Duncan Public Schools, Melonie Hau.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Public Schools

Superintendent of Duncan Public Schools, Melonie Hau.

Melonie Hau originally wanted to be a writer. That was before she went to the University of Central Oklahoma, before she decided to become a teacher, before she fell in love with education. Back then, she hadn’t been a principal, she hadn’t been an assistant superintendent, and she hadn’t become the new superintendent of Duncan Public Schools.

“I thought I was going to be a writer. I loved to write, and I had a passion for it. I’ve kept a journal since I was in fourth grade,” Hau said. “But I didn’t really know how that was going to happen.”

Hau grew up in the small town of Paden, Okla. Her graduating class had 16 students in it. Her path to the top of a school district with several thousand students started when she went to UCO.

“By the time I got to college at UCO, I starting thinking about how I could still write, and also what would be a good job for me to have so that I could also help people, because that was really important to me,” she said.  “And I came from a family of teachers, and so I started putting the puzzle pieces together and realized that it might be better for me to teach. So I got a degree in English education and decided that that’s what I would do.”

Hau taught English-related classes such as AP literature and creative writing for almost two decades before moving up in the educational field.

“I worked my way up. I started teaching when I was 22, and I taught for 16 years,” she said. “And then I became a student support coordinator at Deer Creek, and just kind of worked my way from there into the administration.”

From there, she worked her way up the ranks to her current position. She went from being a student support coordinator (which is similar to being a counselor) to being an assistant principal, a principal, an assistant superintendent in Enid, Okla and, most recently, Duncan’s new superintendent.

Dr. Darrell Floyd, superintendent of Enid Public Schools, who worked with Hau when she was in Enid, believes that her strong teaching background is an asset in her higher-level positions.

“I think that strong teaching background really served her well in bringing some credibility with the teaching staff,” he said. “The teachers knowing that she had been there and done that and knew what she was talking about instructionally, that helps a lot.”

Hau is new to Duncan, and therefore, some don’t know what kind of leadership to expect from her. However, by many accounts, she is a calm, collected and reflective superintendent.

Merry Stone, Duncan’s assistant superintendent, expressed her impressions from her work with Hau so far.

“I am excited for her leadership. We’re thrilled that she’s here,” Stone said. “So far, she’s just been a great fit for our school district. She’s very forward-thinking, she’s very calm, she’s a thinker. So she doesn’t react quickly to things; she thinks through them and is extremely smart.”

Floyd said that Hau is also a very involved leader.

“She certainly was not hesitant to get into an issue and work hands-on to resolve that problem,” he said. “She, I think, will be a very active leader there in Duncan.”

Hau had spent her first weeks as superintendent getting to know the district and the people in it, and has been actively hearing other people’s opinions on what Duncan needs to thrive.

“I think the most important thing as a superintendent is you listen first. Stephen Covey has a saying, that you seek first to understand, and I really believe in that,” she said.  “So my first goal is not to make big sweeping changes. It’s really just to get out and meet as many people as I can and hear what their concerns are, what their desires are for the district and what we need to do to move forward.”

When she’s not busy being a superintendent, Hau, who is married and has two twin boys in college and three pets (two cats and a dog), enjoys reading, writing and working on flower beds, in addition to being a student at OU.

“When I’m not working, which is a lot of the time, I like to spend my time at home,” she said. “I’m also a student at OU. I’m working on my doctoral degree in education leadership. This is my second year in that program, so I do a lot of studying. I’m still a student.”

Even after her long educational career, Hau hasn’t lost sight of her original dream she’s still keeping up with her writing.

“I still write, I still journal, because I think that’s important to be reflective,” she said. “I did write a manuscript. I’ve never sent it off, but I’m really proud that I fulfilled that. It was something that I wanted to do when I was in high school, and I kind of delayed it for a while. But when I was in my 30s I decided I would go back and do that just to see what that was like. I’m real glad that I went back to it.”

Many are looking forward to seeing how Hau impacts Duncan, and according to her, she likes what she’s seen of the city.

“I love it. My family’s originally from southeastern Oklahoma, so this feels very much like home to me, being in southern Oklahoma. And the people feel like my family a little bit sort of just how welcoming everyone is and the values of the community and so it feels very familiar to me,” she said. “I love what I’m seeing so far.”