Meet Resident Principal Ms. Hendler!
by Sophie Lee
Returning Northside students likely have noticed that there are some new faces in the main office this year. Among them is new resident principal, Ms. Hendler. Ms. Hendler began her time at Northside this past July, and will continue until the end of the school year in June. She is also currently studying administration and supervision at Loyola University.
Upon arrival, Hendler noted she immediately felt welcome, and liked the warm environment of the school. “I have always been familiar with Northside, growing up in Chicago and knowing it’s one of the best schools in the city and quite possibly one of the best schools in the world,” said Hendler. Although she has previously worked at an elementary school, working at a high school is a new challenge she is excited to take on.
For those wondering what exactly a resident principal is, the position is part of a program run by the Principal Quality Department aimed at preparing future principals for jobs in CPS. “Ms. Mest is my mentor and basically I am taking on administrator responsibilities and duties and learning what it’s like to be an administrator by taking on that role, but also having guidance,” she explained. Mentors and resident principals are matched together through an interview process that Hendler jokes is “like a speed dating event.” Principals and their potential mentees are paired together for about 15 minutes to talk. “They give those preliminary matches based on your leadership styles, what your strengths are, and what areas you would like to grow in,” said Hendler.
Hendler explained how her talk with Ms. Mest affected her decision, saying, “One of the things that I learned from my conversation...with Ms. Mest is how she’s really proud of the work the staff has done to build equity for all students at Northside...coming from different neighborhoods and the access they have to programs at Northside and prior to Northside. Then also building equitable opportunities for not only general education students but students that have diverse needs as well.”
Now that she is at Northside, Hendler is using her time to learn more about the areas she believes she could improve in. “Some of the things I would like to grow in are learning how to build teacher capacity and teacher leadership in the building. I think Ms. Mest does a really wonderful job of letting teachers take on leadership roles within the school and I think that’s something a lot of Chicago public schools could benefit from,” she said. Additionally, she said, “I’m also very interested in learning how to build community relationships. Some of the things that I’ve seen is that Northside has a really strong parent support group and I’m hoping to learn how those relationships have been developed and also how they’re utilized to support the school.” A sentiment that many students and faculty have echoed, Hendler cites Northside’s community and environment as some of its greatest strengths. Hendler credits Ms. Mest with these accomplishments saying, “She’s really guided a team that closely looks at the culture of Northside and the climate of our school and thinking about what are areas that we can improve upon to make this an amazing learning experience for all students.”
Up to this point, Ms. Hendler’s experience at Northside has been a good one. It seems that the school has truly become a welcoming learning environment for any person lucky enough to experience the Northside culture.