New kid on the block

Turner Middle School welcomes new assistant principal

By Bob McDonnell
The Surveyor

Turner Middle School assistant principal Winifred Lezine poses for a photo at her desk, however, she prefers being around kids over being at her desk. Bob McDonnell / The Surveyor

Turner Middle School assistant principal Winifred Lezine poses for a photo at her
desk, however, she prefers being around kids over being at her desk.
Bob McDonnell / The Surveyor

Winifred Lezine, the new assistant principal at Turner Middle School (TMS), is not new to the world of education. With a varied education background, Lezine’s experience includes work at a charter middle school, a high school, and a pre-K to eighth-grade private school.

With Lezine’s family history it’s no surprise she works at a school, and has for many years. “I have a bunch of cousins who are currently teachers,” she says. As well, her brother retired as a high-school art teacher after 20 years and, additionally, Lezine’s great aunt, along with her grandmothers, taught. Her maternal grandmother maintained a one-room school in a boarding house. “It was like a current-day alternative school,” Lezine relates.

“A great school” is how Lezine characterizes TMS. She is impressed with the sense of community in Berthoud and in the school.
One of the attractions to TMS for Lezine was the school’s strong emphasis on project-based learning. The charter school Lezine worked at was similar in structure since it was an expeditionary school – a model of comprehensive school reform based on educational ideas of German educator Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound.

Lezine sees the TMS teachers as mentors. She stated she feels it’s important students know how to learn and think critically. They also need to know how to ask questions and participate in society, she said.

The TMS newcomer defines herself as a lifelong learner and hopes the students will be too. She is an avid reader as well.

“I think you learn a lot through reading,” she said. “It teaches you what you want to be interested in.”

Lezine is happy in her new position.

“I would really like to be a principal,” she mentioned when asked about her future. For now, she plans to stick with jobs in the schools. She likes the fact that higher administration gets to shape more than the classroom, but added she would not get what she calls her “daily kid fix” if not in a school all the time.

To reach this long-term goal, Lezine notes she will have to change her doctorate study area. Currently, it is focused on German, but she said a doctorate in education would be more practical.

Lezine forms her work style as an assistant principal based on her time in school as a student. She said she doesn’t remember talking to the assistant principal as she went through school. Only the kids who got into trouble saw that person, she joked. But that doesn’t stop her from engaging with students in her new position; she likes interacting with the students.

“I want them to know they can come up and talk to me,” she said.

Lezine praised the school’s parents for their ongoing participation but encourages more to participate.

“We would love to have the community more involved in the school,” she added.

She said volunteers are always needed, and anyone interested can contact TMS to see the needs and learn the process to become a volunteer.