The first day of school has always kicked off a good week, full of unprecedented chaos, barely contained and filling the building with wild, overly energetic, and already frustrated kids who have gotten far too comfortable with the summer freedom. There aren’t many ways to corral and control that energy in school: chasing high schoolers into classrooms is similar to herding cats. However there are people up to the task of helping to supervise the halls and confront the chaos with tact – the administrators – and we’ve got a whole new team.
Loy Norrix had a shuffle of power over the summer. The school brought in new blood to the administrative team. Brandon Lukes and Kimberly Kirshman are the newest members of the Loy Norrix staff as assistant principals and joined the new principal Christopher Aguinaga, formerly the Dean of Students, and Erin Middleton the current dean of students.
Kimberly Kirshman is one of the two new assistant principals who specifically presides over grades ten to twelve and can most often be found patrolling the cafeteria or handling disciplinary actions.
Walking into Kirshman’s office is easy. The room is simple but generates a professional atmosphere and she, herself, is polite and handles any situation you throw at her with the appropriate sensitivity and precision, so it seems that the office matches her personality. With the fans blowing, Kirshman reels off a list of her experiences and her time in the American education system.
Spending twenty seven years the field of education is impressive, especially with nineteen of those years being on an administration team. She bounced from school to school and traveled through multiple states, from the frigid winters of Michigan to the smothering heat of southern Florida and back again. Kirshman spent six years with Norrix’s neighbors at Portage North Middle School and Portage Northern High School as an assistant principal.
Coming to a school like Norrix from smaller schools or schools where the administrative team isn’t as large is a change of pace for Kirshman. There’s a level of excitement in the fact that she has the opportunity to work with the other administrators.
“As an adult, working with administrators. It’s something you don’t get in a small school,” said Kirshman.
According to Kirshman working on a team of administrators is great for the administrators themselves because it divides the workload and creates a support network. If a new administrator has a question, they have people they can go to for help. However administrators have more duties than just policing the halls and asking students to change their behavior.
“Our job as educators is to love the whole child–it doesn’t matter where they come from or their beliefs, we’re there to support them,” Kirshman said.
Caring for students is just one of the many duties required of administrative staff. They also have other jobs like supervising the halls, overseeing disciplinary action and doing teacher evaluations.
Students often have concerns which they feel aren’t being listened to, Kirshman responded to a few of them, namely the Loy Norrix technology policy. Many people in Norrix’s student body get frustrated by the strict cell phone and hat policy and the seeming lack of flexibility. Kirshman understands students’ concerns though.
“It’s a double-edged sword [technology], it can absolutely enhance learning when used appropriately with correct monitoring. Cell phones on the other hand provide a distraction and cause more drama than necessary,” said Kirshman.
Facing hordes of frustrated students isn’t Kirshman’s job no matter what their frustrations are, but she understands the need to address frustrations with explanations.
“We need to communicate why we’re doing what we’re doing. We get caught up in our day to day business,” Kirshman said, “but there’s usually a good reason [for what we’re doing].”
Kirshman shows a willingness to work with the students of Loy Norrix to make the school a place where all students are comfortable. According to Kirshman it’s important to stop moving the target, to her it’s an important goal.
“We need to be embracing everyone,” Kirshman said, supporting the idea that the goal of the administrative team is to promote a more successful and unified school environment.