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New A.J. Schmidt Principal Says Student Success is Job 1


Principal with little girl

Enjoying some one-on-one time with Kindergarteners is Principal Julie Schwab, who took the helm at A.J. Schmidt Elementary School following the retirement of Jill Clark.

Most recently, Julie Schwab was assistant principal at Lake Shore High School, but today she occupies the principal’s seat at A.J. Schmidt Elementary School. Aside from the halls being a lot
quieter, she says going from the secondary to elementary level wasn’t that big of a change.

“I’m back to my roots,” she explains. “I started in an elementary building, a K-3 building in the Iroquois school district.” From there, she became Silver Creek’s director of curriculum, instruction and technology. After serving as the administrator at Enterprise Charter School, she came to Lake Shore.

“There is a shift from getting high school students through the requirements to graduate to building the foundation at this younger level for how they can succeed in those later years” she notes. Having worked with students from Kindergarten through 12th grade, she understands where social/emotional/academic challenges can come in. “What we do as teachers and parents at this young age is significant to their success in later grades,” she says. That’s why she believes in supporting parents in their role, and why she works tirelessly with teachers and parents to figure out what’s interfering with a student’s ability to learn, whether socially or academically.

“Just because you’ve said it doesn’t mean they’ve learned it,” she maintains. “Students may need multiple exposures to information that is presented in various ways because that’s how their brain works. Some students are more successful when they can talk about what they learned with a friend, or sit in a certain location in a classroom. Simple strategies that can go a long way towards student achievement.” Part of strategizing for success includes helping students understand how they learn and how to advocate for themselves with teachers.

“Don’t ever tell me a child can’t learn,” she says. “That’s my job, to do what’s best and what’s right for the student. We will look through the evidence and figure out the strategies and resources or whatever is needed to help a student succeed at their level."

Success ultimately involves the support of many people in a child’s world. “I want to foster that magic of a school that is created by the community. There is a great deal of community support
here at A.J., with many people quietly making sure that the basic needs of kids are always met,” she concludes. “I want to make sure that magic is sustained.”