Our new ace reporter, Hanna interviewed (Kathleen Kostan) the new principal of the Thomson School in North Andover.
How do you feel about MCAS?
“I wouldn’t just say it is just MCAS, because I think the Education Reform Bill which started MCAS is the best that has ever happened to education. It makes sure that everybody is getting a good education no matter where they go to school. MCAS gives us the important things that we need to do in every school in the state.”
How long have you been in education?
“I started working as a teacher in 1973. I taught kindergarten, 1st, 4th, and 5th grades as well as middle school, high school and then college. Then I became a curriculum director at a high school before I became a principal somewhere else. Then I came here.”
Are we still going to sing the Thomson School Song?
“Yes, and I am going to need people to help me with that. I love to sing! Maybe you can help me with the words on the first day of school.”
Are we going to dissect in science class?
“I don’t know. I haven’t talked with the teachers yet because it’s still summer. The science curriculum may call for that. We have three parts to the science curriculum: Earth Science, Physical Science, and Life Science. I don’t think they would do that in 4th grade, but I can’t be sure. I would be leaning towards saying no.”
How long are you going to stay in the North Andover Schools?
“This should be the last place I go to. When I finish here I will be retiring and I hope to be here at least five years. If you guys don’t make me too tired, then I can maybe stay a little longer. My husband, Mr. Kostan, will be retiring in three years, so I will give him time to adjust for a few years and then I will retire myself.”
Do You Live in North Andover?
“No. My home is in Lynn. I have always lived in Lynn. I have a summer house in Marblehead, but my main home is in Lynn. I worked in Lynn for lots of years and I love it. My husband is the Superintendent of Schools there and part of his job is that we have to live in the city.”
How do you feel about being a principal?
“I love being a principal! The best part of my day is doing just what I am doing now. Talking to young boys and girls, watching them learn and grow into young men and women. Some parts of it are not that fun, like doing reports to the state, but I do like being a principal because I am always learning just like you. Most of it is really fun.” What is the difference between being a teacher and being a principal?
“The main difference is, as a principal, you have to think about everyone in the whole school, the boys and girls, all the teachers, and you have to make the best decisions for everybody. But a principal is still a teacher because I have to be a model to everybody. I have to model for the students on how to study and for teachers on the best way to teach. So, even though I am really a principal, I am also a teacher in a lot of ways.”
Do you support peer mediation and not involving parents?
“Absolutely. I think some of the best decisions can come out of boys and girls knowing how to sit down together, talking to each other, asking the right questions, and solving problems. Most problems become big because people didn’t talk about them when they first happen. Peer mediation is a really good thing if you do it right.”
Next Month Hana will be interviewing Lawrenc School Superintendent Wilfredo Laboy.