After holding several other positions at M-A, former AVP Simone Kennel has recently begun her new role as principal. Kennel looks forward to her first year in this position, hoping to use the opportunity to improve the lives of students and teachers at M-A. Kennel describes the first few weeks of school as a success and looks forward to resolving some lingering obstacles.
Kennel believes the school year got off to a great start and observes that “the climate on campus is just so great.” She enjoys hearing positive feedback from students about the quality of their classes, and works with those who have expressed concerns. As principal, Kennel must dedicate her time to the school holistically. She explains that this responsibility gives her the chance to focus on the well-beingof students and teachers, ensuring that they will thrive at M-A. Although her position in the school has changed, she hopes to continue having “daily contact with students,” believing in the importance of this interaction.
She acknowledges the difficulty students have faced in navigating the construction around campus. However, Kennel is thrilled that “everybody has just adapted so well,” commending students for their ability to adjust to the geographical changes. She understands that the construction poses an inconvenience to the M-A community, but has confidence that the end result will be worth the trouble.
Kennel also addresses the larger population on campus, accrediting some of the growth to a recent surge in enrollment. For the most part, she thinks the administration satisfied the needs of students and teachers. However, she explains the challenge the school must face when deciding how to deal with classes’ high enrollment numbers: “Do we hire another teacher and upset schedules, or do we look at more ways to provide support to teachers?” Despite this difficulty, the administration is working to assist both students and staff as they adjust to new classroom dynamics.
Kennel admits that while she does not wish to take on too many projects her first year as principal, she is passionate about managing homework. She hopes to “start moving conversations forward about balance, stress and homework,” emphasizing her belief that students should receive meaningful assignments. Kennel does not express her view on how much homework students must complete, but rather seeks to start a discussion within the M-A community about the topic.
When asked what kind of role she wants students to play at M-A, Kennel responded with the hope that students would voice their opinions on different aspects of M-A. She believes in the importance of student input on subjects ranging from motivating people to carpool or ride their bikes to school, to participation in the PTA Newsletter or Bear Notes. She reminds students that M-A “needs to be a school that you’re comfortable in, and then also think about what future students would want or need.”
Kennel predicts that the most challenging aspects of the coming year will be dealing with requests from people outside of the school, and accommodating for all of the students at M-A. She is excited about M-A’s partnership with the Ravenswood City School District, as well as other feeder school districts. While all of Kennel’s commitments entail hard work, she calls them a “welcome challenge.”