MHS Welcomes New Administrative Team

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Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 10.19.18 AMBy Terry Rogers

When school opens on Monday and Tuesday, August 31 and September 1, students at Milford High School will notice new faces in the main office. Two new assistant principals will take the administrative reigns, while a former assistant principal will move into the principal’s office.

Dr. Kelly Green, who was an Assistant Principal last year, will take the helm of Milford High School, replacing Dr. David Carter whose contract was not renewed at the end of the last school year. She said that teaching was something she had a passion for even when she was a child.

“I couldn’t avoid it,” Dr. Green says. “Everyone always said I was going to be a teacher. The neighborhood still talks about when we were kids and I would assign homework to everyone on the block. They weren’t allowed in the pool until they did the work. Apparently, I had high standards even then.” Dr. Green says that she has a love of learning and that she gets to share that with hundreds of students every year. She states that students see that she is invested, not only in their learning, but her own as well. Dr. Green has taught at levels from Kindergarten to college but that her heart lies with secondary students; she finds secondary students to be challenging, funny, stubborn and inspiring.

Dr. Green is originally from New Castle and spent 17 of her teaching years in three upstate school districts. She moved to the Capital School District two years ago and became a Buccaneer last year when she accepted the Assistant Principal position. She said she moved to the administrative side of education because she felt she could help a larger number of students.

“I sometimes miss being a teacher and planning exciting lesson plans for students,” Dr. Green said. But I also get to see a great deal of excellence while working with all the teachers in the building. Seeing so many passionate educators with varied areas of expertise is invigorating, and allows me to help provide resources for others as we work to grow as a school.” Dr. Green says her greatest challenge in her career has been balancing professional responsibilities with family commitment. She has been married for 20 years and her husband often asks her to “leave that at work” when she spends time grading papers, calling parents, designing schedules and planning professional development during her off hours.

Dr. Green pointed out that the job of an administrator or teacher is not limited to time in the school building. She says she is thankful to her husband and children who understand and that she cherishes the time they spend together since her job in education can be demanding. What makes it worthwhile for Dr. Green often happens long after she has a student in class.

“When a former student or their parent contacts you to let you know how they are doing in college, working a job they applied for after talking with you, that they started their own business, that they are using notes in your class to help them in college, that they did something important because they were inspired by something they heard or experienced in your class,” Dr. Green said. “Those are the best moments as an educator. Many people don’t realize how difficult this job can be, especially in today’s political climate. We do it because we love kids, we love learning, and we really love to see those two things come together and inspire a young mind.”

Dr. Green hopes to move Milford High School into a position as a school of innovation, opportunities and successful students. She said that she wants everyone to know about the amazing students Milford has and she sees her goal as principal to increase flexibility to provide more student opportunities for success. She hopes to challenge the way the school does business and bring the high school into the 21st century by providing a competitive, rigorous experience for all students. Dr. Green feels that thus is what the community wants and what the students deserve.

Another new face in the main office at the school, but one that will be familiar to many returning students is Shawn Snyder who will be acting as the Assistant Principal in Residence. Mr. Snyder is working toward his advanced degree in education while working in the administrative role.

Mr. Snyder said that he always knew he wanted to help people and began attending college as a pre-physical therapy major. He said that as a college freshman, like many, he really did not know what he wanted to do. His advisor was an English professor and when Mr. Snyder indicated that he wanted to change his major, the advisor suggested English since he enjoyed to read and was a decent writer. Snyder began his first student teaching experience the following year and knew from the first day that it was what he wanted to do with his life.

“I taught at Fifer Middle School for two years and then helped create Campus Community in Dover,” Mr. Snyder said. “I have taught sixth through twelfth grade, primarily as an English teacher, although I also was a Business and Technical Education teacher. After my wife and I moved to Milford, we both took jobs at Milford High School the following year and it felt like home as soon as we arrived here.”

Over the past few years, Mr. Snyder said he has felt himself pulled toward the administrative side of education. He said that with each position he took at the district, from coordinating SATs and AP testing, coaching multiple sports, starting the AP Language and Composition program and running one of the largest mentoring programs in the state of Delaware for several years, he felt himself pulled toward leadership and organizational positions.

Like Dr. Green, Mr. Snyder says that balancing work and personal life is his biggest challenge. He said that students often have so many needs that make it difficult not to spend 24 hours per day working to help them. He says that coaching, advising classes and staying late to make sure AP testing materials are organized, it seems like there is always something to do. He said that the fact that his wife is also a teacher and is very patient, makes him fortunate, stating that “everything we do is about the maroon and gold.”

“I love being at MHS every day,” Mr. Snyder said. “I tended to work through the summer as a teacher and librarian to prepare for the year and stay late into the evening to be sure everything is prepared for the next day. My favorite moments are when this work leads to students achieving something they thought was impossible. This can be as small as a student learning how to use a comma properly to getting into the college of their choice. Last year’s graduating class earned $5.1 million in scholarship money. We’re pretty proud of that.”

The most important goal set for the administration at Milford High School this year, according to Mr. Snyder, is to bridge the gap between the community and the school. He believes there has not been as much communication as necessary and that he thinks that needs to be addressed. One of the programs designed to do that is the Milford Student Employment Program.

“If employers meet our students, they will realize that there are many students who are college and career ready now,” Mr. Snyder said. “We are working with Mayor Shupe and the City Council to make this happen.”

One brand new face will make an appearance on the MHS administrative team. Shafta Collazo comes to Milford School District after working in Appoquinimink , Woodbridge and Dallas, Texas. She says that teaching is her second career, although some aspect of teaching has been part of her adult life.

“Prior to becoming an educator, I worked as a marketing representative for a major insurance company for ten years, essentially educating my clients about products, creatively problem solving and helping them strategize to support their business needs,” Ms. Collazo said. “I decided to change careers because I felt I could have a greater impact on society if I could help guide our future generations.” She said she moved to the administrative side of education because she felt she would have an even greater impact on students. Ms. Collazo said that, as a teacher, she was provided a subset of students and tasked with helping them make academic gains. As an administrator, her outreach is far greater.

Ms. Collazo says that each day can be a challenge as a teacher. She says that teachers must wear many hats in a classroom, sometimes being the teacher, sometimes being the mom, sometimes being the social work and sometimes being the referee. Multi-tasking is critical as teachers strive to learn the different learning styles of each student while also keeping them engaged and learning all at the same time. However, like her fellow administrators, she says that the balance between work and family is the most difficult.

“The students become my kids and I had the same expectations for them as my own children,” Ms. Collazo said. “I would go above and beyond to do whatever I could to support them, even if it detracted from my home life. I had to find a healthy balance between the two in order to be beneficial for all.” Ms. Collazo currently lives in Middletown with her fiancé and their blended family of five children, ranging in age from 13 to 20. She said that she finds teaching a passion and comes to work every day passionate about her job because she loves what she does. She says her biggest reward is having former students stop her to tell her of the great things they are doing, the plans they have for the future and the impact they hope to make.

Improving academic outcomes and increasing community connections are two important goals Ms. Collazo hopes to achieve in her role as assistant principal. She says that there are quite a few new teachers in the school and she thinks that there are exciting changes taking place at Milford High School.