Northeast Woman: Jessica Leitzel
But, when you enjoy your job as much as Jessica Leitzel
does, getting up and heading to school in the morning is hardly a chore.
"When I saw the kids on the first day, it was so exciting," she
said a couple of days after the Scranton School District
reopened after its summer break.
has worked on both the elementary and high school levels.
loves both, with the younger kids "you feel like you're making a difference," that you're setting a good foundation for everything they'll do thereafter, she
"With the little ones, the growth you see is amazing.
You can see education at work here," said Ms. Leitzel, who also serves as a member of the school district's Assessment, Report Card, Safety and Consistency committees.
"You really get to see their development.
And it's fun."
grew up in East Scranton, one of Judy and the late Jim Leitzel's three children.
From an early age, she
showed signs of a future educator.
was the first person from her
family to graduate from college," Ms. Leitzel
A few years later, she came back to Scranton to take an English as a Second Language position at McNichols Plaza Elementary School.
often found herself helping her
Latino students' immigrant parents with real-life tasks like finding an apartment.
"They didn't have anyone else to turn to, so they turned to us," said Ms. Leitzel
, noting her
fluency comes in handy when dealing with Willard's 40 or so Hispanic families.
"Because of it, I became much more fluent in the language."
"I always find myself being an advocate for welcoming people into the community and not judging," she continued.
"Just embracing diversity a little bit more."
Ms. Leitzel eventually decided to pursue her master's degree in educational leadership at Marywood University, believing she "could make a difference in a leadership role, to create a culture where all decisions are based on what's best for the kids."
After spending a year teaching Spanish at Scranton High School
was elevated to assistant principal at West Scranton High School
spent a very happy year there, then applied for the job at Willard.
Currently, she's pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership at Wilkes University.
There will probably come a day when she'll take a higher administrative position within the district, but for now she's perfectly content.
The students, faculty and staff of your school are fortunate to have you in a leadership role, as are the members of the community.
I wish there were more leaders in education that embodied the same ethics as you.
Tom-Tom Drummer, 09/14/09 - 5:24AM
Way to go Jess!