Profe to Principal


Photo by Quinn Martin

Standing in the hallway by the office on April 18, Spanish teacher and in-term assistant principal Jeff Lampi looks towards ELHS’s main entrance.

In Jeffrey Lampi’s 10 years of teaching Spanish in the district, ELHS has experienced numerous changes in administration. He had voiced interest in administration in the past, but never interviewed for a position because of his love of teaching and coaching. However, when the opportunity to become assistant principal arose following former principal Shannon Mayfield’s medical leave of absence, Lampi took the chance to explore an interest he had only thought about in the past.

“They [admin] said that they would need a little support in the office and so I said, I think the timing could be right,” He said.

So far, Lampi’s new position has allowed him to form relationships, work one on one with students and help teachers do their job to the best of their abilities. He has also been able to connect with other administrators as he grows in his position.

“The admin team is so dynamic here,” Lampi said, “[Quiana] Davis and [Ashley] Schwarzbek are phenomenal leaders. I’ve learned so much from them.”

But Lampi’s position as an administrator meant he had to stop teaching in the classroom. He was able to continue teaching his AP students during first hour, but the rest of his classes were left with no teacher. While the subs brought in varied in their understanding of Spanish, there were still days when the classes had substitutes that weren’t able to do hands-on activities with the class. This period of time felt dull and unproductive to students like Elena Cull (11), who’s in Mr. Lampi’s Spanish IV class.

“Honestly, it was just kind of boring,” Cull said, “It was just sub-work and worksheets, and we weren’t speaking as much.”

But all of this changed on March 7, when Spanish teacher Rachel Gehres stepped up and took over Lampi’s other classes. According to Cull, Gehres’ taking over has resulted in positive change in the classroom following the period with no teacher.

“I think Mrs. Gehres is a really great teacher and I really like the way she runs her classroom, I feel like it’s definitely picked back up again,” Cull said.

Even though the shift in teaching seemed sudden, it felt seamless to Lampi and Gehres due to their extensive communication and planning on how the transition should work. 

“The kids have already expressed excitement to have Mrs. Gehres there and just the fun, interactive, engaging lessons she’s preparing are really really spot on,” Lampi said.

Another factor contributing to the seamlessness of the transition was Gehres’s connections with Lampi’s students. She taught many of the students in Lampi’s class when they were underclassmen in Spanish I and II. 

 “A lot of the students have had me before so it’s like coming home to them,” Gehres said, “being able to see how they’ve grown has been such a great experience for me.”

However, with Mrs. Gehres gone from the classroom, someone needed to take over her classes. Luckily, Gehres was in the process of training her fifth MSU intern, Katy Miller. Miller had been working with Gehres and connecting with students since the beginning of the year and was hired as a long-term sub for the remainder of the year for Gehres’ classes. This experience has allowed Miller to build her skills and develop her own teaching style rather than mirroring the style of someone else.

Standing in the hallway by the office on April 18, Spanish teacher and in-term assistant principal Jeff Lampi looks towards ELHS’s main entrance. (Photo by Quinn Martin)

 “It’s definitely nice to have a little bit more freedom. I feel like I’m in my own space now rather than teaching in someone else’s space, so I have a lot more of the responsibilities as well,” Miller said.

So far, Gehres has been impressed with Miller’s initiative in the classroom without a mentor and her ability to weather the unexpected transition.

“I think she’s really rising to the occasion. Every time I have a conversation with her, it seems like she’s handling things beautifully,” Gheres said.

Gheres and Miller stepping up has allowed Lampi to flourish in his new position. Even though he has only been an interim assistant principal for about three months, he has already brought change to the school. He aided the admin team in bringing back Trojan True, a reward system formerly called Trojan Turf that praises students for positive behavior and updates parents on their student’s successes in school. 

Lampi’s success in his current position has made him consider a future in the administration. He was always interested in leadership, so there’s a possibility that he pursues it moving forward.

“Some of my Master’s [degrees] were in school leadership; I do not have a K-12 certification yet, but that would be something I’d have to pursue If I continue to do something like this in the future,” Lampi said.