The First to lead the way : Jeannie Leiterman

On February 12, Andrews Academy Board Chair Alayne Thorpe and the Andrews Academy Board announced that they voted to ask Jeannie Leiterman to serve as Principal. “Mrs.Leiterman has been serving as Interim Principal and all who have worked with her have come to appreciate her competence, her dedication and energy, and her loving, team-building leadership style,” says Thorpe.

Although Mrs. Jeannie Leiterman’s new role has been officially named, she has been doing the job for 7 months. Her leadership has been accepted, respected and appreciated by students, faculty, and staff, and parents. But the question is, what’s in the job of being principal?

I wanted to dig deeper to discover who Mrs.Leiterman is and what she thinks. I had a one-on-one talk with our new principal about her life, experiences, and advice.

Why did you choose teaching as your career?

“I had always known that I wanted to be a teacher. My mother said I did well in leading others. Though, along the way, I was studying to be a doctor – but as we can see, that didn’t work out.”

What is your vision for Andrews Academy?

“My vision for the academy is to make sure that it is a place where kids know God and have a personal relationship with him. A place that each student feels safe and secure. A place that students actually enjoy coming to school.”

What do you enjoy about working here?

“I’m grateful to be able to go to a job that I enjoy going to. The students, coworkers, and parents make it all worth it.”

How does it feel to be the first woman principal ?”

“Honestly, it hasn’t even occurred to me. I don’t feel like I’m making history like Barack Obama or even Hillary Clinton.”

Why do you bake for co-workers and not for students?

“I do bake for students. You just gotta come to my office. But it’s nice to treat my co-workers as well.”

Would you ever teach a baking class?

“I would , but it wouldn’t be healthy.”

What’s the hardest thing about being principal?”

“The hardest thing is where to draw the line. Some people have different situations, and knowing how to deal and decide can be tough.”
If you had to choose another profession or your dream job, what would it be ?

Since I love baking, I would love to own a bakery named Leiterman Mom’s Goods.

Will you ever hire/interview someone to have your old position or will the school just carry on without a vice-principal?

“The decision is not in my hands. The decision is decided by the board. Financially,where the school is now, one administrator is enough. If enrollment increased, then maybe a second administrator would be needed.”

What advice do you have for the students of AA?

“The most important thing is to know God. Always live to represent something bigger than you. Our lives will be drastically different if we do.”

Since we know a little bit more about Mrs.Leiterman, how do the students feel about Mrs.Leiterman? Students opinions matter. It encourages students to come back and to feel apart of the Andrews Academy family. To get an insight on how students feel, I asked Sarah Almeter  and Illy Mun on what they appreciate about Mrs.Leiterman?

Sarah Almeter, a senior at Andrews Academy, says, “I appreciate that she is more than an authority figure. She is a friend. Her office is a place of solitude and it’s a place where I feel welcomed.”

Illy Mun, a freshman at Andrews Academy, says, “She can relate and she talks to us like she has gone through similar problems before. And she is funny.”

It’s one thing being a student, but how does it feel as a teacher to work with her and to be under her leadership?

Mrs.Keila Sanchez, Spanish teacher at Andrews Academy, says, “She is a people person and approachable. I feel comfortable to be around her. And she is a great team leader.”

By these three interviews, I can truly say that “Mrs..Leiterman is appreciated and most welcomed by students and teachers. And that she has made an impression on people’s lives that she has interacted with.”

We are blessed to have such a humble person to lead this prestigious Adventist institution. Not too many schools are privileged to have such a leader that cares about the students, faculty, and staff and their well-being. As we continue to move forward in the years to come, we are putting our trust in God to lead Mrs. Leiterman and the school in the right direction.

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