This article originally ran in the June 2017 issue of The Stinger.
Numerous changes will be brought about at Emmaus High School for the 2017-2018 school year, including the addition of EHS’ new principal, Dr. Kate Kieres, who was recently hired for the position.
Kieres is no stranger to the East Penn School District; in fact, she was an assistant principal at Emmaus from 2006 to 2011. After serving the last six years as assistant superintendent at the Palisades School District, Kieres is ready to come back to East Penn, a district and community that she adores.
Stinger: Where did you go to college?
Kieres: So I went to Penn State for undergrad and I was a theatre major — I was actually a double major in theatre and education for two years… But my goal was to teach, so after undergrad, I went to Lehigh and I got my teaching degree so that I could teach English and drama, so I did that. And I got my Principal’s Certification from Gwynedd Mercy, which is a university now, but it was a college then. And then in 2012 I finished my doctorate and I got that degree from Seton Hall.
Stinger: What is your role at your current job?
Kieres: So right now I’m the assistant superintendent in the Palisades School District. Palisades is a small school district, we have about a little over 1,600 kids, so it’s significantly smaller than even Emmaus High School is. That’s the whole district, K through 12 … My job as assistant superintendent is to be an assistant to the superintendent, but also to do curriculum and instruction and assessment. I’m responsible for everything from curriculum mapping, teaching evaluation — anything that has to do with teaching and learning, basically. It’s my responsibility to oversee all the way from kindergarten to twelfth grade in every subject.
Stinger: What are some factors in your decision in coming to Emmaus?
Kieres: I was actually an assistant principal at Emmaus for five years … I loved it there, and I loved it so much that my husband and I actually moved our family to East Penn from Bethlehem when I was working there. So we live in the community and I loved working at Emmaus. I loved the students, I loved the community, I loved the staff. I loved being a part of a really big, successful, comprehensive high school.
Stinger: What are you most excited for in your role as principal?
Kieres: I think I’m most excited to really celebrate all of the great things that are happening at the high school. The job that I’ve had for the last five years, or six years, has been wonderful, but it’s been a district office level position. I get into buildings a lot and I get into classrooms a lot, but I don’t have as much direct engagement everyday with students and teachers, and I miss that. So I’m really excited to have the opportunity to get into classrooms every single day and to really get to know the students and the teachers again. And like I said, really celebrate the great things that are happening, and really look for those opportunities that exist to continue to grow and improve what we’re doing for kids.
Stinger: Any changes that you would like to see happen at Emmaus next year?
Kieres: I don’t have anything specific that I would like to see change… This is also an opportunity for me to come back and learn about everything that has happened since I’ve been gone and the things that have been put in place. So if you ask me a year from now, I’ll probably have more of an idea how to answer that question because I’ll feel like I’m more grounded in what’s happening at the high school and what are our needs together as a school community…
Stinger: What’s the last book you read?
Kieres: So I just got back from Ireland, and the last book that I read was a book called “The Graves are Walking” — it’s a little bit depressing. It’s a book about the Irish potato famine, so I read that book in preparation in heading off to Ireland.
Stinger: What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Kieres: Kind, collaborative, enthusiastic.
Stinger: What do you like to do outside of work?
Kieres: I love to read, [and] I have two kiddos — one of them is in 7th grade and the other one is four, so she’s not in school yet. So most of my free time is spent revolving around doing things with my kids and with my husband, so that’s work and a hobby.
Stinger: Wawa or Sheetz?
Kieres: Wawa, absolutely. I just drove through Wawa this morning for coffee and a breakfast burrito. I’ll go way out of my way to hit Wawa.
Stinger: Anything else you would like the students of Emmaus to know about you?
Kieres: Hmm, no. I’m excited to get started, and I’m really excited to get to know the students.