Getting to Know Mr. Jantzen

Mr. Janzten is currently the assistant principal for grades 9 and 11. Over the past year, he has made the transition from teaching 9th grade Earth Science. Many people have been wondering about his new role in Kennedy, as well as how he is doing since the move to administration. In a recent interview with him, here is what he said:


How are you liking it with your new role here at Kennedy?

“Well, it’s excellent. It’s exciting. Every day kinda flies by. As a classroom teacher, which I miss being, there’s a little bit to be said about how to accept the challenges of changing your lessons throughout the course of a day and even a year to make them more interesting and new. This job always provides me with something interesting and new. I also feel like I’m able to reach outside just the 9th grade or the 30 students in my class, so I feel like I have more of an interaction with the students. I feel like I have more of an impact at Kennedy.”


How did you get into an administrative position? 

“In your coursework as a teacher, you have the opportunity to take a variety of classes to advance your degree. One of those is pursuing an administrative certification, which I did through Stony Brook, though I did not have any intentions or expectations. But as I progressed in the course, I was starting to get really enticed by how to change a school’s culture, how to get students to feel better about the school day, and how they felt in the high school, overall. These are definitely some things that motivated me to continue with the course and pursue this opportunity.”


With these new opportunities, there are many challenges and obstacles. What are some for you?

“Well, whenever you enter a new profession, there’s always a grace period and a learning curve. I’ve had to adjust to simple task management, how to fill out certain reports, how to conduct certain follow-ups. You gotta make sure you dot your I’s and cross your T’s. I’ve had to be very thorough talking to my bosses, asking many questions to ensure that I do the best job that I can. 

“But, I feel like the thing that’s making me feel good about this job is that I can still come into work at a school and work with kids. At first, I was scared that this was going to be very apprehensive, but I was pleased to find out that I’m working all over the school, addressing student-teacher interactions. I really hope that this is something I can keep going with.”


You say that you want to continue working with students and teachers… Speaking on that, what do you see for yourself in the future with this job and possibly advancing in your field, even though this is your first year working an administrative role?

“My five-year plan? Haha. You know, like you said, this is still a very new thing for me. I’m happy that I am able to enjoy, though there is, of course, that sense of anxiety and apprehension. As of now, I don’t really have many aspirations beyond this job, though I do hope to really hone my abilities as an administrator. I want to get as good as I possibly can to help the students and teachers at Kennedy the best I can.”


Of course, with this new job, you have not had the opportunity to teach the freshmen and go back to the classroom. But based on your students from last year, how do you think that the newer generation is going to be different? Anything you want to see?

“That’s an excellent question. You know, I’ve been teaching here for eight years and I’ve been kind of telling people this as a joke, but I feel as though I have just about three year’s relevancy left in the building to see familiar faces and have people know me from Earth Science. Being a ninth-grade teacher, you’re always amazed to see how people mature emotionally and physically. I believe that every student is unique in their own way, but I am sure that the new students will take their place at Kennedy, considering the increased interaction of the student government and clubs in general. I hope to see them a generation of students that will make Kennedy a better place.”


What is one final thing you want to leave not only your former students, but also these new freshmen, with?

“Respect. Obviously, as a former teacher, I cared about how my students did on tests and with classwork, but my biggest thing is connecting with kids and teaching them that the greatest thing is how you treat others. Even if you get a 95 on your GPA and the regents, that wouldn’t matter if you didn’t learn how to treat others with respect, because that’s going to get you farther in life.”