By now, I’m sure many of you are well aware that since the 2018-19 school year there have been a handful of changes here at LHS, and the names on the doors throughout each hallway are no exception. Though there weren’t quite as many staff swap outs as last year, La Follette has welcomed over 30 new staff members into the school community this year Because there are so many new arrivals, it would take multiple articles to cover them all, so today we’ll recognize some of the staff you will likely see at one point or another this year at La Follette.
You may not have seen his face, but you definitely heard his voice sometime in the early weeks of September. Mr. Mark Krall, the interim athletic director (IDA), isn’t the big scary guy many may have initially thought he was. Being the Athletic Director requires, “a lot of coordinating, a lot of making sure students are eligible to participate in sports, making sure that they have physicals, making sure that grades are at a certain level, and making sure behavior is what we expect,” Krall explained. On top of all his hard work as Mr. Porter’s successor, his 120 mile commute from his home in Rockford IL to La Follette only further proves his dedication to his work and the students of this school. “I came here because I want to learn from the students. You all have so much to offer,” the IDA revealed. “Everybody teaches me something new everyday.” In addition to the mutual learning that occurs between himself and the students he interacts with, Mr. Krall loves the fact that his job gives him “an opportunity to work with students and improve their lives, to help them become better at what they do and encourage them to get more out of what they do - to get more out of life. It gives me an opportunity to see the growth and see the positives,” he continued. “You guys are the positive. You guys are the future. Honestly, it’s the students that make it what it is. You guys got a great place and I love it.”
Ms. Lindsey Bucki is someone you may have only heard if you’ve visited her office personally. As one of the two school psychologists, Ms. Bucki spends the majority of her time in her office connecting with and assisting students one-on-one. “My role is to support any social or emotional difficulties from little things to medium to big - any spectrum of issues that may be coming up,” she said. I support mental health and mental health awareness on an individual level but also on a schoolwide level.” Since her junior year of high school, the newly graduated psychologist has had a passion for supporting others emotionally and building meaningful relationships with those she helps. “I think that relationships are the foundation of anything you want to impact. You have to have that foundation of trust with students and staff,” she asserted. This year, Ms. Bucki is emphasizing the former, as well as focusing on fostering a positive environment in our school community. “I would love for everyone at school - students and staff - to work together to make a more positive and inviting climate and that people feel safe and supported,” she exclaimed. “Both voices are heard and appreciated.” Ms. Bucki can be found in Student Services, Room 1045A.
The names of the Neighborhood Offices aren’t the only thing that changed; La Follette also welcomed a new assistant principal by the name of Ms. Ploeger. As the AP to the Spelman Neighborhood, Ms. P works to “[support] students, teachers and systems to ensure that all students are able to reach their goals and grow at LHS.” The bilingual Eastsider has a background in and passion for Science, ESL and DLI, and is “thrilled” to help students and empower teachers as the year continues. “[I’m excited to] get to build relationships with students and staff! To get to know LHS and to be known here as I begin this new chapter.” (I’ll add where to find her later)
Let’s continue to strive to make not only these amazing staff members feel welcome into the community as we get deeper into the year, but for our peers as well. “[One of my goals is that] each student and staff will have a sense of belonging at LHS,” Ms. P said. “This is your community. This is our community. Let's do this... together! If at the end of this year we look back and say: This year we built... and rebuilt community... we will have been successful.”