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Women’s History Month: Celebrating Community Leaders

March is Women’s History Month, and we will share community spotlights throughout the month on social media. We wanted to start by sending the biggest thanks to our incredible campus leaders for setting a strong foundation for our community every day. We asked each principal a couple of questions to get to know them a little better. Read below.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more campus and staff spotlights celebrating Women’s History Month!

What’s on your daily to-do list?

Elementary school principal Ms. Brittany Wagner-Friel makes a point to interact directly with students, families, and staff every day. “I get into classrooms every day since that is where the most important work (magic!) happens, and to anchor in my goals for the day to make sure I spend my time in ways that help us progress as a school community.” Meeting most of our longtime students at a young age, Ms. Brittany says her proudest moments are watching students she worked with in elementary school, either as a teacher or principal, walk across the stage at their high school graduation.

“As a Pre-K – 12 school community, we have the privilege and opportunity to work with students and families for many years and it is an amazing moment when the time, effort, and love of so many culminate in this important moment.” 

Why do people need to feel seen, heard, and loved?

When thinking about the power of inclusion, Ms. Zenada Mahon-Belton, middle school principal, talked about why it’s critical to create a sense of connection. In a recent conversation with a teacher, who was also a mother, they talked about how challenging mornings can be with small children at home. The conversation centered around the importance of knowing you’re not alone. 

“We are hard-wired for connection. I believe we all have an innate desire to feel seen, heard, and loved because it makes us feel less alone and more connected. Feeling connected to others and knowing we belong is critical to our emotional and social well-being. Being seen, heard, and loved can heal the places where we are hurting, and it doesn’t take much to offer this to each other.”

Thank you, Ms. Mahon-Belton, for helping build community with a shared sense of humanity that enables every learner and staff member to thrive.

What has leading through COVID-19 taught you?

Reflecting on the past three years, high school principal Ms. Emily Hueber Stoetzer talked about what the process has been for her as our community has moved closer to what feels like a “normal” school year: 

“Returning last year and this year, we have had to re-learn the importance of building community — for our students, staff, and families. Welcoming families into the building at 9th Grade Orientation, the 12th Grade College Office Meeting, and Family Teacher Conferences, and our cultural heritage celebrations has been such a highlight! We’ve had to pivot and make adjustments where students, particularly 9th grade and 10th graders, are taking longer to acclimate to in-person learning and rebuilding healthy peer-to-peer interactions. I am impressed with how strong our staff’s commitment to supporting our community of learners has been.” 

When asked what about this year she is most excited for, Ms. Hueber Stoetzer replied, “all of the in-person events, activities, and experiences we are planning for students: the Homecoming Pep Rally, overnight college trips, and academic signature learning experiences!”

Take a moment this month to show some love and appreciation to our campus leaders. If you see them in the halls during pick-up and dismissal, be sure to give them a high five.

Help us create a more just and kind world.