Teachers have fresh faces in their classrooms and the Westerville City School District’s Early Learning Center also has a fresh, yet familiar, face.
Suzanne Kile is the center’s new director.
She started the job in July following the resignation of former director Ann Lockett, who left to pursue another professional opportunity.
Kile began her career as an elementary and middle school teacher and principal in Michigan.
She said she moved to Westerville in 2001 where she has been a teacher, principal of McVay Elementary, principal of Genoa Middle School, director of community relations and special education coordinator.
“Every job I’ve been in, I’ve thought, ‘I love this. This is where I’m going to stay forever,’ ” she said.
So far, she said she is loving her new position.
“I love having that direct interaction with the kids and their families. Being in the district for so long, I know a lot of these families and it’s nice getting to know new families,” she said.
Kile said she’ excited about her new assignment and is enjoying getting to know the pupils and their parents at the Early Learning Center.
“I love being part of the team that gets to welcome our families to Westerville schools,” she said. “During my years in the district, I have had the opportunity to work with most of the preschool staff, and they are one of the factors that drew me to the role.”
She said it’s important to keep up to date with the most recent research and literature concerning early childhood development and she is open to making changes to improve the program.
“Our teachers are phenomenal and I want to support them however I can and make sure they stay up to date on the most recent research findings,” she said.
The Early Learning Center houses 11 classrooms, holding 300 students, in the morning and afternoon, providing students with disabilities the opportunity to learn alongside non-disabled peers.
Kile said the district serves students as young as 3 and that a typical classroom is comprised of eight non-disabled students and eight disabled students.
Unlike in other districts, preschool students are taught at a central location — the Early Learning Center at 936 Eastwind Drive.
“Having everyone in one location allows us to learn from one another. Plus, it’s a really amazing space. A lot of thought went into the design of the space,” she said.
The former office building was renovated in the summer of 2013 for $588,000 to become home for the center and the district’s administrative offices.
Superintendent John Kellogg said Kile is plenty qualified for the new position.
“With 24 years experience in education, the last 14 of which have been in Westerville City Schools, Suzanne possesses the balance of leadership and academic skills required for this position,” said Kellogg, announcing the appointment.
“Her involvement and familiarity with the Westerville-area community are added benefits that will be valuable to the Preschool Program as well,” he said.
“I can’t say how much I’ve enjoyed the warm welcome from the staff and community,” Kile said. “Westerville has such strong connections and everyone really cares about each other.”