In thinking about the launch of our brand new website, I thought, wouldn't it be great for our students and community to get to know our awesome staff members outside of the classroom?!  Those of us in education are so much more than 7:40-2:15, and those stories can help us learn an awful lot about life.

With that --  welcome to our new website!!!  In this space, Meet in the Middle, I am going to be interviewing faculty and staff at Pennsville Middle School that you want to know more about!!  So students at Pennsville Middle School, feel free to log into your pv-eagles account and to nominate a faculty or staff member for December's interview!

For our first interview, it was an easy decision.  I had to interview our fearless leader, Mrs. Carolyn Carels!  The transcript from the interview is below.  Future interviews may be done in video format if our interviewees agree to it.  Enjoy....& #SoarAbove&Beyond today!

So...Mrs. Carels,  tell us  a little about yourself - where are you from? Hobbies? Passions?

"I grew up in Washington Township and graduated from there...oh my, so long ago! Hobbies included gymnastics, tennis, and cheerleading. (my cartwheels are NOT what they used to be…..!!).  I’m married to a great guy, and we have an awesome son (who keeps us on our toes!), and my 91 year old dad lives with us. So I’m very proud that our son is growing up with an understanding of why his granddad lives with us now, and how we, as a family, help each other all the time, no matter what. Our son is blessed to be close to his paternal grandparents as well.  We also have a dog, Remy. :) "

What inspired you to become a teacher? (Whats your Why?)

"I always thought about teaching, mainly because I had so many teachers that were inspiring, challenging, and personable, and that made school a positive place to be. And I always knew I wanted to teach Middle School age students, which I did. I taught MS (History, Civics, Geography, and Math) for 5 years before coming to Pennsville and starting as an administrator. So I’ve only worked at the Middle School level. And wouldn’t trade it for anything." 

Did your upbringing influence your teaching and leadership style? If so, how?

"My parents’ #1 priority for me was school. And not necessarily straight As, but to always try and do my best. I wasn’t a straight A student - but I valued the education I got even at a young age, due to how important it was to my parents. I did much better in college...again, valuing the effort, and knowing that hard work (and doing it with integrity) pays off. I believe that to this day in pretty much all aspects of life.  Being a leader isn’t just about one person - we all work collaboratively to meet the needs of students. But as the Principal, I make decisions based on what’s right, or best, for our school family - which doesn’t always mean a decision that is the most popular ‘choice’ "

What are you most proud of in your educational career so far? 

"Honestly...that I’ve been lucky enough to spend the majority of my career in Pennsville. From my very 1st day in the hallways here (moving through the building, walking with students, greeting staff, etc.) at the MS, I knew this was the right place for me as I began my administrative career.  To get to know students, families, and staff over the 19 years in which I’ve been here, has really been a blessing. "

What lessons have you’ve learned as an educator? 

"So many to list!!  To be flexible; understanding; empathetic; firm/fair/consistent; to evolve; that we all learn in different ways; to have a sense of humor - but to also find the humor in things even when it’s hard!; to listen to students and co-workers; to make decisions for the good of all...but recognize that there are times when a rule may need to be ‘re-visited,’….I could keep going!  Everyday is a learning experience for which I’m grateful. "

What did you learn and what challenges did overcome from leading during the pandemic? 

"I learned during the pandemic that education - although always a top priority - became secondary behind the health and safety of all of us. While we strived to provide engaging instruction, and meet the needs of all students virtually, it was difficult….but yet very rewarding. I believe that although it was difficult for everyone (students, staff, parents, grandparents, families, the community, etc.), we came through it with a greater appreciation of what schooling was….and with a greater focus of what we will continue to work towards.  And I’ve never been more proud of the staff here (in the MS and the district), and students, parents, and families for pulling together to try to make things work….even though we were all exhausted!!!  :) "

Special thanks to Mrs. Carels for being a good sport for our first interview.  Students feel free to nominate a staff member for our December interview!  Nominations will close on  Wenesday December 8th.