New Emerson, Centennial principals a hard-working team
It had only been two weeks since Angie Luebbe’s husband, Andrew, took the Centennial Elementary principal job when she met with Columbus Public Schools Superintendent Troy Loeffelholz in her kindergarten classroom at North Park Elementary School.
She was interested in becoming the principal of Emerson Elementary School, as its principal, Sara Colford, was departing at the end of the school year. She already possessed her school administrative degree, but was reticent to take a position that wasn’t the right fit for her.
Unbeknownst to her, Loeffelholz was about to offer her a position that would give her and her husband a pretty unique distinction: being principals of two separate CPS elementary schools.
“It was a wonderful visit with Dr. Loeffelholz,” Angie said. “We had a great conversation about Emerson and all the wonderful things that are happening at Emerson. He offered me the job and at first, I heard him say it, but it didn’t register. So, he was like, ‘I need a yes or no answer.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, yes, yes, yes, yes!’”
Both Angie and Andrew left their current posts as a kindergarten teacher at North Park and assistant principal at Columbus Middle School, respectively, to take over these roles. For most, that would require a significant adjustment period, getting to know the new administration, new students and new parents. However, the husband and wife team are lifers in Columbus Public Schools and as such, the adjustment period likely won’t be too rocky.
“I have always loved Emerson as a school that I have had the opportunity to work with the staff before,” Angie said. “It’s a great staff and when (the job) opened up, it was an easy, ‘Yes, I’m going to apply,’ and my goal as principal of Emerson is to do the same relationship building that I’ve been shown and loved at North Park.”
Angie and Andrew both believe they have been principals - of a sort - for some time, raising four children and balancing their schedules around their kids’ activities.
“I feel like we’ve always been managing a small building of children,” Angie said. “We have four wonderful children and having a big family comes with scheduling conflicts or one of us getting pulled one way (or) one of us getting pulled the other way. But we have always stuck together and been able to say that we trust each other and we know what needs to happen.
“Even with teaching, I feel like I’ve been a busy teacher, so being a busy elementary principal, I feel like we are going to handle it the way we’ve always handled it. We stick together and we know we have each other’s back.”
No one was more proud of Angie getting the job at Emerson than Andrew, just as it was the other way around when Andrew received the Centennial news. He said that he had pushed Angie toward an administrative and leadership position for some time and that she finally found a position that seemingly is tailor made for her.
“I was excited about it,” Andrew said. “She felt that it was a good opportunity for her. It fit what she was looking for, and I had always encouraged her to think about those leadership opportunities. I encouraged her that it was a good one (and that) if you feel that it’s a great fit, then go for it.”
Andrew says he believes that time management will remain important, adding that the duo is well equipped to handle their professional and personal lives.
“We’ll just have to continue to be good time managers,” Andrew said. “We’ll have to do some scheduling stuff - parent-teacher conferences are on the same night, so we’re going to have some late nights there, but we have a strong support system with my family and relatives and some of our own kids, so we’ll just have to rely on that.”
That support system includes a long line of educators. Both of Andrew’s parents were teachers in CPS and Angie’s mother was a teacher in Texas. Now, they move forward and expand their horizons from being teachers to serving in administrative capacities.
“We’ve always been in a system that’s been education based,” Angie said. “This has just always been our world. When we look into our future, if one of our four children decides to be a teacher, that would be a great, amazing thing. We’re always around teachers, we are teachers at heart and school is just a part of us.”
Zach Roth is a reporter for the Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com