Kathryn Greene always knew she wanted a career in education, but a fear of teaching math steered her to a sociology degree instead.
Greene quickly decided to face her fears head on after a few years in the business world, where she realized she wanted to spend her time helping children rather than keeping a close eye on the bottom line.
"I was working for a retail organization where the bottom line was only money and cutting resources and I said, 'I can't go through life without making a difference,'" she said. "I went back to graduate school, got my degree and started about eight years after I graduated from college. ... I always wanted to work with people and build relationships and inspire people to be the best they can be. That definitely plays into what I'm doing now."
Greene has spent 18 years in Fairfax County Public Schools. Though she started as a second grade teacher, she spent much of her career as a math specialist — an irony after her fear of math originally kept her from education — and instructional coach.
This summer, she began her career as an administrator as one of two new assistant principals at Waples Mill Elementary.
Greene started thinking about working in administration after the passage of No Child Left Behind.
"As public education became so testing oriented, I felt the schools really needed strong instructional leaders and that's my background," she said. "I wanted to make a larger impact on schools, so I went back to get my administrative degree. So far, so good."
As an educator, Greene has always loved that every day is different, and she suspects her life as an assistant principal will similarly keep her on her toes.
Her goals are to build relationships with the staff, parents and students this year, but also to make sure she stays connected with the children.
"I'm really into the growth mindset, believing students with hard work can do what they need. So inspiring them to not give up, find their dream and have a plan," Greene said. "I try to touch base with kids to ask, 'What do you love? What's your passion? What are you interested in?' You never know how you can help turn it into a career, even that early."
Greene is enjoying the warm environment at Waples Mill Elementary, pleased to discover a supportive staff ready to help her as she finds her footing.
"I'm really excited to be here and to have the teachers come back. I can't wait for the kids to come back to school," she said. "I'm excited to get to know the students and community and to become a part of the community."