New Principal Profile Q&A: Karen Carstens, Tritt Elementary School

Question: What do you want your new school family to know about you and why you are excited to join them?
Answer: “My vision of school leadership centers on the word HEART. My goal will always be to fill our school community with high expectations, achievement, relationships, and talent. I am passionate about providing an instructional program that provides our students with every opportunity for their future success. This not only involves rigorous application of our learning standards, but also opportunities to engage in problem-based learning inside our STEAM curriculum. I am so excited for the opportunity to serve a school that’s vision already connects with mine!”

Question: What does student success look like for you?
Answer: “Student success is so much more than just academic success. I want our students to be self-directed learners who understand that learning is a growth process, filled with successes and failures. The important part of being successful is adjusting goals and persevering through challenges.”

Question: Outside school, where might students, parents, or staff members run into you?
Answer: “Away from school, you will usually find me enjoying the outside in some way. My family and I love to kayak, mountain bike, and hike in the north Georgia Mountains. I also love to travel and spend time immersed in different cultures. I lived in Japan for three years and traveled throughout Asia and Europe. Just this February, we were lucky enough to visit friends in Finland and go skiing above the Arctic Circle.”

Question: Why did you decide to become a principal?
Answer: “I always had a poster in my classroom that said, ‘My goal is to help you reach yours.’ Now, as a school leader, I still find myself working hard to help others achieve their personal goals. I love conferencing with students, staff, and parents to learn how I can help them on their journey.”

Question: What’s your favorite memory as an educator?
Answer: “Just recently, I was lucky enough to reunite with one of my fifth grade classes on the eve of their high school graduation. Many of them shared memories from our class and the lessons we shared together. One of them even said they never go to the beach without warning others not to walk across the sand dunes because he learned about the dangers of erosion in my science lesson! All educators wish to make a lasting impact on their students. Seeing my students off on their next adventure was a priceless gift for me!”