Getting Personal: Veteran educator leads Lakenheath
Kent Worford is a longtime educator and veteran Department of Defense Dependents Schools teacher and administrator who recently assumed the leadership of Lakenheath High School.
The 40-year-old Topeka, Kan., native served as vice principal for two years at the United Kingdom’s largest DODDS high school before becoming principal this school year.
What is your biggest challenge this year as principal?
The biggest thing I’m trying to do is address our academic casualty students. Students who, for whatever reason, have not reached their full potential.
How do you reach these kids?
We have an after-school “transition for success” program as well as focusing on individual tutoring during seminars. We also have mentors who regularly work with the students.
What type of mentors?
People from all over the community come in and work with students on all kinds of different subjects.
How long have you been with the DODDS system?
This is my 15th year. My career started in England as a teacher and coach at Croughton. Then I spent 11 years at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) in Belgium as a teacher and coach of just about everything. Then I came here two years ago as the vice principal.
What is the biggest joy you get from teaching?
Helping students. That’s why I’m here.
Individually, I work with students and parents on a regular basis. It really has to be a student-parent-teacher partnership for success. Even as principal, I spend a lot of my time making sure that happens.
Now that you’re back where it all started in England, do you plan to stick around for a while?
We’re here, and we are part of the community. I take great pride in this school. We send students off to MIT; we have National Merit Scholars, and students [who] go to the military academies.
You sound pleased with your job and this school.
We rarely have fights here; there are very few real problems with students. We have high expectations for the students, and they meet them. It’s a great environment.