Getting personal: John Fletcher
UK weekly edition, Wenesday, September 5, 2007
Coming off a stint as the head of Würzburg Elementary School in Germany, principal John Fletcher brings more than 30 years of teaching knowhow to RAF Lakenheath’s Liberty Intermediate School this year.
Fletcher, of Walla Walla, Wash., said on the first day of school last week that he looks forward to a successful school year and hopes his faculty can help bolster the writing and math skills of the roughly 300 students enrolled at the school.
How long have you been in the education field? I started teaching in 1974, and I joined [Department of Defense Dependents Schools] in 1982.
Is this your first time as a principal?Würzburg was my first one. It was a [pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade] school.
What do you hope to accomplish in this upcoming school year? We already met with the superintendent and talked about some goals that we have. One of them is to improve writing. We’ve adopted a program to use that all the teachers will be trained on. We hope to raise all of the writing scores with it. Improving math is also a goal of ours.
Do you have a philosophy toward education? I don’t feel like I’m the boss. I’d like [the faculty and I] to be a group of people who sit down together and make decisions on the welfare of the students. I don’t dictate what needs to happen in the classrooms, but I would like to know what happens in them. I like to encourage and support good practices.
How old do students tend to be at this school? They’re only fourth- and fifth-graders, so they would range from 9 to 11.
In your teaching experience, what has been the most difficult grade to teach? The younger they are, the more routines have to be in place before learning can take place. The most difficult grade I’ve ever taught was first grade because they come in fresh and new, and they need to be reminded how to do mostly everything. Fourth- and fifth-graders have been at this for a while, and they know what’s expected.
I know it’s a little early, but have any kids been sent to your office yet? No, not yet. If it was the first day of school and that happened, it wouldn’t look good. I don’t see that happening here.
Anything you would like to add about your new role here? I’m real happy to be here. I think that the staff is excellent. They are very professional and upbeat.