What is your favorite part about your position at the school?
I think what was great about this position is I got to use all my teaching and counseling skills that I learned along the [time that I was at PHS] and brought it into this administrative position. I feel like I have a front row seat to everything. I get to be on the frontline [of school issues] with all the students and have good conversations [with them]. I get to do more than just discipline. I get to use my counseling skills, impact policy, [and] work with adults [such as] community [members] and parents.
What legacy do you hope to be leaving at PHS?
One of the things that people have said to me is that I’m kind [and that] I’m a calming force. I hope that I’ve been able to bring some of that to the school community, and to our students because [high school] is a stressful time and [PHS is] a stressful place. I hope that my presence here over the years has helped bring some goodness to this school. Being a good person and doing good things really does matter.
What has been your most memorable experience at this school?
Everyday is a new experience. I think all the student-led and student-run events that happen are probably my most memorable [experiences such as] the days of service where students came together, or when students planned fundraisers for [Hurricane] Sandy. Those days and those nights where we have those events, I think they show our students at their best.
What do you hope to pursue during retirement?
I’m going to spend some time with family … Then I’ll travel and then I hope to get back into something that allows me to use my counseling skills, my teaching skills, or [possibly] volunteer. I did a mission trip in 2012 and I hope to participate in more mission trips, preferably here in our own country.
What have you learned at PHS?
[Maya Angelou said that] “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I believe that everything we do matters. Everything that we say matters. It is important to make people feel important and make them feel like they’re part of something. I’ve always tried to make time for anybody who comes here. I might have 20 things on my desk, but my thing has always been to make time and listen and make people feel like they’re being heard. Everybody [needs to know] that they have a place here and are cared about. I think that’s our job as educators to make sure [students] feel good about [PHS] and about themselves.
What advice do you plan to give to Ms. Siso Stentz who will be filling in your position?
I would say always do what’s best for students. [It] doesn’t matter what else is going on, [students] are the most important piece to this. There’s no need for us if [students aren’t here]. Taking care of students and making sure we’ll have their best interests at heart, I think that is what I’d say to her.
What advice do you have for PHS students?
It’s about being kind to each other. It really does make a difference in someone’s life. We don’t know what other people deal with on a day-to-day basis, and so making someone feel like they’re important, and that they’re cared for, and that there are people here that they can come to and talk to … I think that’s important. In this day and age, a little bit of kindness goes a long way.