Mrs. Letzel Joins SHS Administration

Nina Mieszkowska, Scribe Reporter

Mrs. Letzel, previously a math teacher at Schaumburg High School, now assumes the role of Assistant Principal at Schaumburg High School.  Even though she may no longer teach in a classroom, her new role has not kept her from teaching. The school is excited for her to be on the administration team, but we wonder what she thinks about her new role. Here is a transcript of a conversation between the Schaumburg Scribe staff and Mrs. Letzel

Scribe: How many years did you teach before moving to admin? Why take the job this year? What persuaded you to take on more responsibility?

Letzel: I taught math for 25 years and loved every minute of it.  As for why “now,” I think both the pandemic and my continued education and enrollment in graduate courses during the pandemic motivated the change.  During this time, I spent considerable time reflecting upon my career and began to envision new ways to contribute, grow, and learn.

Scribe: Can you describe your role as an administrator?

Letzel: I am the Administrator for Student Support Team 2. I primarily work with the following counselors and their assigned students: Mr. Kowalski, Mrs. Vasireddy, and Ms. Werlein along with school social workers, Ms. Haas and Mr. Hiyama, and school psychologist, Mr. Stilling. I am responsible for coordinating the New Educator Program as well as our Saxon Strong (staff culture) and Saxon Pride (PBIS) programs.  I also oversee our student supervisors, in-school suspensions, detention, the distribution of student surveys, after-school tutoring, and the Media Center.  Additionally, I evaluate teachers in the Applied Technology, Art, and Social Studies departments.

Scribe: How does it feel to leave teaching? (What do you miss about teaching?)

Math teacher Kendra Letzel joins the SHS intervention office as an assistant principal. (Ms. Woytus)

Letzel: I don’t quite feel as though I have left teaching, at least I hope not.  The teaching takes place, now, outside of a classroom. As I reflect, I think what I miss the most is the small day to day interactions with students.

Scribe: What do you hope to accomplish as an administrator?

Letzel: I hope to contribute in ways that build relationships and optimize both teaching and learning experiences within our school community.

Scribe: What are the biggest challenges when working with counselors and their assigned students?

Letzel: I wish I had the gift of time.

Scribe: What is it like coordinating the New Educator Program?

Letzel: It’s fantastic, and is a great way to keep learning and growing. Collaborating with Ms. Morelli, Mr. Curtin, Mr. Harkin, and Ms. VanGrondelle on aspects of the program help me remain connected to our classrooms, students, and new educators.  That said, they do most of the work! They are the best of the best!

Scribe: What is like overseeing both staff and students now?

Letzel: Prior to becoming an administrator, I worked as part of the teacher team mentioned above.  Mr. Harkin and I were responsible for developing new educator workshops for 3rd and 4th year educators.  The focus of the third year program is to equip new educators with the skills and resources necessary to become successful educators, as well as self-evaluation skills and techniques, methods for increasing student achievement, and differentiation of instruction. During the  fourth year of the program Mr. Harkin and I oversaw an independent leadership project as the district wants to develop leaders. This project allows educators to recognize their strengths and enhance their leadership skills.

Scribe: How do you feel being a New Educator Coordinator and did you have this responsibility before?

Letzel: I have really enjoyed teaming up with both staff and students.  In my new role, I have more opportunities to partner and develop new, or perhaps different, relationships with staff  and students.

Scribe: Did you ever plan to become an administrator at SHS? Was it a goal? Was it a proposition?

Letzel: While it was never “the plan,” I have always been open to the idea and I embrace change.

Scribe: What is it like working with other administrators?

Letzel: The administrative team is great, and I enjoy working with and learning from each of them.  It is no different than working with any other group in the building.  We are a team and work collaboratively to improve our school community.

 

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