Assistant Principal Sierra accepts position in Holyoke

Assistant Principal Sierra accepts position in Holyoke

Jetta Albright, Guest Writer

When students returned to school in 2021, there was an administrative shake-up due to the resignation of Superintendent Todd Gazda. Principal Lisa Nemeth was appointed interim superintendent and Mr. Mitchell moved up to the interim principal. There were two assistant principal positions open, one “interim” (Mitchell’s position) and one permanent (vacated by retired Michael Halpin)  Mr. Couture was hired as a permanent assistant principal position.  

A familiar face, Mrs. Meyleen Sierra, was brought up as interim assistant principal for this year. However, she will be leaving LHS over the summer to become an administrator in a nearby district.

Working at Ludlow High School for ten years, Sierra began as a Spanish teacher.  Though possessing her administrative license for years, she had yet to use it.  That was until this year. 

Though she did have some doubts, Mrs. Sierra was “excited to start something new,” and felt more comfortable making the transition since she had been working in the building for years and she was familiar with the people and policies.

Mrs. Sierra values being able to branch out of the Foreign Language hallway wing and connect more with her colleagues.  Having felt a little isolated in her language wing, Sierra appreciates being able to connect more with “everyone else in the school.” She enjoys attending all of Ludlow High School’s events as well.  Prom, senior farewell, and other school events are some of the things she valued as assistant principal this year.

She cherishes being able to see students enjoying themselves outside of their day-to-day school routines.  This school year has provided Mrs.Sierra the opportunity to branch out more within the rest of Ludlow High School.

When it comes to conquering the issues within the school, Sierra has to work well with her other staff members to make the best decisions.  Consequences “depend on the issue” and all of its severity.  Sierra must work with her team to give proper consequences depending on each different situation involving students.  

Following her newest change as assistant principal, Sierra compares some of the differences between these two jobs.  She continues to see other staff members as colleagues, but the way she communicates with them is completely different due to her job responsibilities. When teachers have to go to an administrator it is usually due to some type of conflict, making the job of AP a difficult one. Sierra said it was important that everyone felt as if they were “part of a team.”

Meeting some new students this year was positive for her, but she had only met a handful of new students.  Connecting on a normal level was still something, yet Mrs. Sierra felt as if she had more opportunities to connect with students on a more personal level in the classroom.  The daily classes provided Sierra with more time to speak and share more about each other with her students — time she cherished.  Seeing students communicate and share more about their lives in class connected her to who they are as people and learners.  

While Mrs. Sierra finds so many positive things to say about her new position this year, she does miss teaching Spanish.  “Of course, yeah, I do miss teaching Spanish,” Mrs. Sierra reflects on her history of teaching the language.  Being a teacher for 19 years, she does miss some parts of her job.  Being a big part of her life, she loves the language, and teaching intrigued students.  As students developed the subject, Mrs. Sierra assisted and made learning interesting and fun for all of her students.  

While so much has changed this year, Mrs. Sierra as a person has not changed one bit.  “I think that would be a little hypocritical of me,” she says. She is still the same person and is serious when she “needs to be serious,“ adding that “I learned a little about myself, that changing positions wouldn’t change me at all.” 

Maintaining her regular lifestyle and personality was no issue for her.  She continues to enjoy gardening at home, painting canvases, and hanging out with family and friends.  Despite what others might assume, Mrs. Sierra proudly continues to be “herself.”

As this school year comes to a close, Mrs. Sierra will not be returning.   She has accepted an assistant principal position in Holyoke. 

Sierra shares, “I am excited, I actually went to school in the Holyoke school system.” Having some friends and familiarity with Holyoke will help Sierra make a smooth transition into her newest endeavor. 

Mr. Mitchell reflected on how they “got along great and were able to utilize each other’s strength to solve problems.”  Despite not knowing each other well through the ten years they were both present in the building, in one year they were able to get to know each other very well. 

Mr. Mitchell, on the other hand, will be moving back down to his assistant principal position.  He stated, “I’ve loved the opportunity to be the principal this year, but I’m looking forward to going back to assistant principal and working closely with the students.”  Following a relatively irregular school year for both staff and students following the Covid-19 pandemic, Mitchell is looking on the bright side of being more connected with students at Ludlow.

There is no doubt Mrs. Sierra will enjoy and make the most of her newest journey next school year. While she remembers and reflects on her past years, experiences, and memories, it is safe to say she is more than ready to move on to new things. 

The Cub Staff wishes the best of luck in your future, Mrs. Sierra!