Principal Spotlight: Rachel Amstutz, Bodkin Elementary


Q: How long have you been at Bodkin Elementary?

A: I’ve officially worked at Bodkin for just more than 90 days now! This is my first year on the team. Prior to coming to Bodkin, I was the principal of South Shore Elementary for four years.

Q: What is your favorite part of being a principal?

A: There are so many to pick from, but my most favorite would have to be collaborating with teachers regarding our instructional and program planning, then seeing it take shape with our students. When they get excited about learning and when children run in new directions with learning because of their excitement, I feel like we’ve done our job well.

Q: Which school event do you look forward to the most each year?

A: I’d have to say the first day of school - everyone is so excited, joyful to be back in school, to meet their teachers and friends...smiles and laughter abound!

Q: If you could go back to elementary school, what advice would you give yourself?

A: To take advantage of all of the unique programs, clubs and other special events that are offered. Exploring new things provides lots of great information about future interests and opens neat doors.

Q: If you could have dinner with one person from history, who would it be?

A: Christa McAuliffe – an inspiring educator, a risk-taker. I loved the quote on Wikipedia that said “she had an infectious enthusiasm,” and NASA psychiatrist Terrence McGuire told New Woman magazine that “she was the most broad-based, best-balanced person of the 10 candidates.”

Q: What is the last concert you went to?

A: I’m guessing you aren’t looking for the band, strings and chorus concerts at our county’s amazing schools...I think the last professional concert I went to was Jimmy Buffett or a Christmas concert like Mannheim Steamroller.

So, while concerts may not be my thing, I do enjoy reading and tend to have several books going at once. Just finished my first novel (outside of elementary school reading) since starting my doctoral program - I read Jodi Picoult’s “Plain Truth.” Love her books! Now I’m a few chapters into “Creativity Inc.” and am really enjoying it! I’m also reading “Leaders of Their Own Learning” at the same time. And of course, stacks and stacks of articles and books for my doctoral studies with a focus on schools using social media to increase parent engagement.

Q: Where in the world have you not travelled but would like to travel eventually?

A: Oh, I love traveling! I’ve had the opportunity to visit about 40 states and 20 countries or territories. Top on my list to visit soon are Australia and Alaska.

Q: If they made a movie about you, who would portray you?

A: So, I had to consult my sister and her family about this one, and they recommend that they cast Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julianna Margulies or Anne Hathaway, mostly because they have long, dark hair but also because of some of the roles they’ve played where they were stubborn, determined and independent!

Q: What is your favorite professional sports team?

A: Who couldn’t say the Orioles right now?! What an impressive season!

Q: What’s one fall tradition you participate in?

A: Does baking with pumpkin count? Muffins, breads, etc. A favorite fall trip is going to Colorfest in Thurmont with a great friend!

Q: What make and model was your first car?

A: After I totaled the family car in a minor accident, my parents purchased a Chevrolet Caviler as the replacement – I learned to drive a stick shift in a hurry to avoid buying what I thought was “an old person’s car.” The first car I purchased on my own was a Mercury Mountaineer, which lived a very long life and was just replaced last year.

Q: Do you cook? What is your favorite dish to prepare?

A: I do enjoy cooking! I like grilling as well as cooking for a crowd. I enjoy making fancy pasta dishes with unique flavors, stuffed shells, humungous salads with all sorts of veggies and goodies, and I especially like making breakfast dishes like omelets and waffles. Mostly, I enjoy experimenting with new recipes or whatever’s left in the fridge.

Q: What do you love most about Anne Arundel County?

A: Nearly everything (just not rush-hour traffic)! I love especially Pasadena and the small-town feel. Being surrounded by water is wonderful - I love the sunrises by the bay and all the migratory birds I see in my neighborhood. I really love the public parks like Fort Smallwood Park, Downs Park, Lake Waterford Park and Kinder Farm Park. But then there’s also Annapolis with all its history and the great shops. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our school system and all the great people in it! There are just too many wonderful things in Anne Arundel County to narrow my list down.

Q: Say you’re stranded on a deserted island. What three things would you take with you?

A: My dogs, a supply of Coke and lots of duct tape.

Q: Who is someone you admire as a role model?

A: My parents! They are sincere, awesome and inspiring. They are committed to each other and have always modeled strong values and ethics as well as true love. They are always starting new projects, always learning new things and always ready to support and help their family and friends.

Q: If you have a day with absolutely no plans/no agenda, how do you spend it?

A: So, I’d have to sleep in a bit first. I’d make sure to take a long dog walk at a park, take my Jeep over to the Eastern Shore and go for a long ride, read some books, talk to some friends, tweet and retweet, then tackle one of the crafty house projects I’m storing up on Pinterest.

File Photo

HEADSHOT, Rachel Amstutz


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