May 28, 2014MONROE — Being surrounded by books from an early age, Leah Holz seemed destined for a career linked to learning. Earlier this month, Holz was selected as principal at Monroe Consolidated School. She served as acting principal since late last year.
Holz's mom Sandy has served as the librarian in Whitefield for 40 years. A 1994 graduate of White Mountains Regional High School, Holz said, "I was literally raised in the library. Reading and learning have always been a part of my life."
With such an interest in books, Holz originally thought about following in her mom's footsteps as a librarian. She found education another natural outlet, especially, Holz said, because "I knew pretty early on that I wanted to work with kids."
After attending Wheelock College in Boston, Holz decided the big city was not for her. She first worked at Barnet School, then became a long-term substitute in Monroe shortly after college. She has made her education career in town ever since.
Holz taught kindergarten, first, and second grade during her time at MCS. She also started the school's pre-school program. During professional development time, Holz became interested in teacher leadership, which led to the idea of becoming a school administrator.
After a return to Wheelock College for a master's degree, Holz had her principal's internship in Monroe while still teaching first and second grade. She then had the opportunity to become interim and now the permanent principal at the school.
Holz is thankful for the opportunity the job provides, as well as the "huge outpouring of support from members of the community and colleagues," she said. "I feel blessed to be working at a school that has such a great group of teachers," Holz added.
Monroe Consolidated School has about 75 students enrolled in K through eighth grade.
Communication is central to Holz's philosophy of education. She believes administrators, teachers, parents, and students are all partners in the educational endeavor.
Holz believes Monroe provides a good example of how good communication supports the goals of taxpayers, parents, educators and students. She said the town does a nice job rallying around the needs of children, "so that we can do the best for them."
The town's support for the school is evident, Holz continued. "The connection between the school and the community has always been strong," she said. The recent spring concert is an example of the bond people have with the school. The event was very well attended by people of all age groups, Holz noted. "I'm still hearing comments from people on how wonderful the concert was," she said.
Holz sees the school as well positioned for changes looming in the areas of curriculum and student assessment. "We have embraced the Common Core standards for years now," she said.
Work planned this summer will focus staff on how the school can be prepared for the shift from NECAP testing to Smarter Balance, Holz continued. The school will continue "to embrace the changes, and do the best we can to stay on top of them," she said.
As someone who has already built a solid career in one place, Holz happily promotes her school. She concluded, "I want Monroe on the map because of the great school we are."