The beginning of the school year is always new: new notebooks, classes, teachers, and friends. But the start of the 2011-2012 school year brought something different – four new administrators! Principal Ms. Montgomery and assistant principals Ms. Amstutz, Mr. McCarthy, and Mr. Readyhough joined veteran administrators Mr. Hayes and Mr. Loughran early in July. And naturally, with new staff come new rules and policies.
Of course, the students of Leonardtown High School aren’t the only ones who have some adjustments to make this year. Before coming to LHS, Ms. Montgomery was the principal at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School for five years and at Spring Ridge Middle School for five years most recently. She has also held different positions at other schools in the county, including assistant principal at Leonardtown Middle School and teacher at Margaret Brent Middle School, Chopticon High School, and Leonardtown Elementary school. Although she has experience working with kids of all ages, being the principal of a high school is a different story. “LHS is twice the size of both Spring Ridge and Banneker. I’m not just talking about the size of the school, but also the number of students and staff. It’s also different working with older students. They know their minds and, in many cases, are working toward life goals, choosing career paths, looking at colleges, and forming opinions about what they think about the world,” says Ms. Montgomery. There’s no doubt that a high school has an endless amount of differences from a middle school, let alone an elementary school. All these changes are definitely a lot to get used to.
Once we get past all the stress of high school, there are some great things about being at LHS, even for the teachers and administrators! Ms. Montgomery adds, “I think high school is a really exciting time for kids, a time they will always remember. I appreciate the fact that I get to share this time with them. My favorite thing, by far, has been getting to know the students and teachers. The best part of my day is when I leave the front office and travel around the school to visit different classrooms.” Not all of us are used to seeing our principal several times throughout the day, so it’s a nice change to see them in a different environment.
Speaking of changes, students, especially those with parking permits, have already seen some big alterations to school policies. Upperclassmen may remember how complicated and confusing it was to obtain a parking permit in previous years. Many of those eligible to get a parking pass were not able to, as there were not nearly enough parking spaces to accommodate everyone. Over the summer, though, administrators worked hard to change that. “We worked with the Forrest Center and Leonardtown Middle School to develop a campus parking plan. We also utilized some spaces in the bus loop for staff parking and eliminated student parking in the back of the school. This opened up more spaces out front for student use,” explains Ms. Montgomery. And surely all of us have noticed the phone calls going out to the entire student body. These have been used in the past to notify families of major school events, such as picture day and report card distribution, but this year they are being sent out more often. Along with the school website, these phone calls are helping to keep students and their families informed about other, lesser-known events, such as fundraisers and club activities. When everyone is kept in the loop, all “Raider Nation” activities are more successful.
We can easily see how much effort the administrators and guidance department put into making sure the year runs smoothly for everyone. Ms. Montgomery says this is because she ‘loves coming to work.’ “Every day, someone says or does something that makes me realize how much I love my job and how glad I am to be a Raider. I already feel like LHS is my new home.” Just as Ms. Montgomery is thankful that the LHS students and staff have made her transition so seamless, we are glad that we have administrators and teachers that care so much about us and our school. In the words of our new principal, go Raiders!