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Flushing, New York

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Spotlight on Dr. Werner : I love scary movies


by Kay Kim and Melissa Chen, editor in chief and fact checker

Ms. Schneider’s recent departure led to Dr. Werner’s entrance as the school’s new principal.

Through a short interview, she retold the journey to her current position. She also expressed her excitement to become a member of the school.

1. Can you give us a tour of your teaching experience?

My first teaching experience was in 1989. I taught special education in District 75. I spent three years teaching middle school and then, I realized that high school is where I wanted to be. I also loved reading and writing, so I became a high school English teacher. I also loved social studies and got a licence in high school social studies. I tried to merge the two subjects as often as possible. I’ve been a high school teacher for a number of years before becoming an assistant principal for eight years. Then, I worked in Network 208 as an administrator of special education. Then, I worked at Queens South Support Center. That journey has brought me here, at WJPS. I am very excited to be here. I feel like everything has been leading up to this moment and I couldn’t be happier.

2. What motivated you to come to this school?

WJPS embodies everything that I believe in as an educator. While I was an assistant principal, I did freelance writing for a newspaper and I understood the importance of the press. I loved the written and spoken word. WJPS also has the intimate family oriented atmosphere that I had always been used to.

3. What are some of the changes you might be implementing?

Right now I am on a listening tour. I want to hear from staff and student and really do an indepth analysis before I make any changes. I like making changes with a community and not as an individual. I believe in the wisdom of the group and respect everybody’s expertises. I want to support teachers in their instruction and students in their learning. That is and always will be my main objective.

4. What are your stands on uniform? Should we continue to have them or not? Why?

Making a change to the dress code policy would be a major change to our school culture. Any major change in the school culture is not something that can be done lightly or without a good reason. I would have to hear compelling reasons for why our dress code would have to change before considering anything of the sort.

5. How about portfolio conferences?

Again, portfolio conference is deeply embedded in the culture. Students should be the ones guiding the conversation around what they have accomplished and what their strengths and improvements are. Of course, this must be done under the guidance of the teacher who should be helping them make these realizations.

6. How can we raise school spirit?

School spirit is more than just sporting events and dances. School spirit comes from pride in ourselves and each other and in hope for good things to come. School spirit is something that resides in each person individually and we need to find a way to harness that feeling and make it come alive.

7. What are some hobbies/activities you like to do outside of school?

Right now, I am writing a novel and hopefully, I will find time with this job to stick with it. It’s been an idea that I have had for years and I finally had the chance to put it down on paper. [Pause…] I do Bikram yoga and vinyasa. I try to practice two to three times a week. Also, I like to sit down with a good book any chance I can get. I also love scary movies – not slasher movies, but good scary movies, like a good old fashioned ghost story.

8. Do you have a secret talent? If so, what is it?

I can stand on my head without any support and do a forearm stand. It’s from yoga.

In conclusion, Dr. Werner respects the school culture and will continue to maintain it. With her open-minded nature, she is willing to create a more effective and exciting learning environment for the students and provide guidance for the educators.

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