The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Admin all-in

Most high school administrators start their careers as teachers, and many stop teaching when they become administrators. However, for many CESJDS principals and deans, their role as a teacher does not end when they take on an administrative responsibility.

High School Principal Lisa Vardi starts a busy day with her students in her senior 21st Century American Identity history class. Vardi has taught in the history and English departments, and while administrators teaching is a new practice at JDS, Vardi said it is common in other private schools.

“The first year I was here, I didn’t teach and that did not feel right…” Vardi said. “In my heart of hearts, I’m a teacher. One of the reasons I love leading advisory or working in the classroom [is] the connection with kids.”

In addition to Vardi, Dean of Experiential Leadership and Service Learning Tori Ball, High School Assistant Principal Aileen Goldstein and Middle School Principal Cassandra Batson also teach.

Many administrators agree that a benefit of teaching is the connection with students. Batson teaches two eighth grade science classes, similar to the role she had last year before becoming the middle school principal.

“It reminds [students] that I’m another human being,” Batson said. “I think it makes me more approachable. For students who don’t know me, they’re more willing to come up to me in the halls and are more willing to reach out when they have a question.”

Senior Ari Reichmann is in Vardi’s 21st Century American identity class. Reichmann expected the class to be slightly different than a normal class, but came in with similar expectations. One difference Reichmann has noticed is stricter consequences in the classroom.

“If you’re messing around in class, there’s an administrator right there…” Reichmann said. “So you have to be a little more careful with how you act.”

At the beginning of the year, Vardi told her students that they have her ear as both their teacher and principal. Reichmann sees this as a benefit of having an administrator as a teacher.

Goldstein also receives information from her students, directly impacting a major component of her administrative duties, academic policies and curricula.

“At the end of the day, all of our work is about the students, and should be,” Goldstein said. “To have the opportunity to have student voices through authentic places and spaces, I think it’s so valuable.”

Because she teaches a senior academic class and freshman advisory, Goldstein hears perspectives from both ends of the high school.

Since being an administrator and a teacher are two separate jobs, a challenge of being an administrator and a teacher is time management. Faculty deal with this differently, from scheduling classes certain periods to teaching fewer classes.

Serving as a teacher and administrator allows administration to better understand the experiences of teachers at school, as they experience similar things.

“I think it is really important that the adults making decisions in school know what is going on with students …[and] what it’s like to be a teacher in that school,” Ball said. “Because the decisions you make ultimately impact students and impact teachers.”

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About the Contributor
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor
With much of her life revolving around playing sports, Mia is excited to take on her role as Sports Editor for the Lion’s Tale this year. She looks forward to designing spreads and continuing to provide a great sports section for readers. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Mia plays for the Varsity Softball and Cross Country teams. Mia enjoys volunteering at the National Youth Baseball Academy during the summer. She is also very involved in debate, and is a media center fellow. She can’t wait to work with her co editors to produce an amazing sports section and overall newspaper.  

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