On Friday, June 30 Phyllis Kohel took her new position as Superintendent for the Woodbridge School District. Dr. Kohel will be greatly missed by her colleagues, former students and the community as a whole.
During her tenure at Milford Phyllis took on many roles in the Milford School District. She was an English teacher (1984-1996), Assistant Athletic Director (1991-1997), guidance counselor (1996-1998), Assistant Principal (1998-2000), Principal (2000) and the Director of Student Support. She was also involved as the Student Assistance Team, Restructuring Committee, Varsity Club Advisor, Cheerleader Advisor and Wrestling Tournament Director. Her honors and awards include DSEA Instructional and Professional Development Award, DuPont Mini Grant for Cultural Awareness Program and Principal’s Award for Outstanding Service to Athletics.
Dr. Kohel took a look at the new position when Dr. Carson, the Superintendent for Woodbridge, applied for the Superintendent position at Cape Henlopen. Her decision to accept the job came from her belief that is was educationally the next step for her to take.
“The plan was never to leave the Milford School District but this position is the next step in my career that I need to take,” commented Dr. Kohel. “I decided to look at Woodbridge because the demographics, policies and challenges are very similar. If there were ever a time to do it, it would be now”
Mrs. Kohel will miss the community ties that the school district has with the town. She will miss the personal interactions and the experiences she has shared with the teachers and students during her 27 years at Milford.
“It is not just about the academics but the quality of the kids”, said Phyllis. “I contribute the quality of the kids to our parents who work with the schools. It has really made it a great place to work.”
Mrs. Kohel has developed a connection with the students at Milford and continues to receive phone calls from former students describing her impact on their lives. For some students Phyllis was the reason why they came to school at all and eventually received their diplomas.
“The calls from former students make it very difficult to leave”, commented Mrs. Kohel.
When asked to give advice to teachers, students and parents Dr. Kohel offered, “To teachers, have a love for what you do, work hard and remember it is all about the kids. To students, appreciate the education you are receiving and stay involved. To parents, stay involved and stay committed to the community as a whole.”
Dr. Kohel was involved with the school system at so many different levels and was able to see how integral each position is to creating an entire school. She would like to see teachers get the recognition they deserve. She maintains that the federal regulation of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top many times diverts the attention away from the great job a teacher is doing and focuses on federal standards.
“[The educational community] needs to take a look at the progress over a period of time, this has been started by the DCAS testing,” commented Kohel. “I would like to see a growth model rather than meeting a rank number.”
More importantly, fans of the Milford High School football team are asking which team she will cheer for when Woodbridge plays Milford this fall. She commits that if her grandson plays football for Milford she will be on the Milford side of the bleachers. She jokes that otherwise she will stand in the end zone between the two sides.
“I still feel in my heart that I will return here”, said Phyllis. “My children went through Milford School District and my grandchildren are currently there now. I’ve loved being a part of Milford School District and appreciate all of the support I have gotten from teachers and parents. I cannot image a time where some part of me won’t be a Milford Buccaneer.”