Kate Neeman says that accepting the position as the new assistant principal at Milford High School was “coming back full circle and returning to her roots.” Kate, who graduated from Lake Forest High School, says her mother and uncle both graduated from Milford while her grandmother and aunt served 30 years in Milford School District as teachers.
“I am happy to have come back home,” Dr. Neeman said. “I knew from the beginning I wanted to be in a leadership role. I loved teaching but wanted to be able to help more than just those students in my classroom succeed. During my first year teaching, I was told that my special education students would never pass the DCAS state test. I was told they were from the City of Wilmington and they had too much going on with them in their home lives to focus on the test. That year, every single one of my students passed the DCAS. I believed in my students and I made sure they learned to believe in themselves. It was then that I realized I wanted to change the mentalities of teachers and the community. I wanted to be in an administrative role where I could help students and teachers become more successful.”
Dr. Neeman says that she is determined to view the challenges that come with her role as an assistant principal of a secondary school as a goal to accomplish. She said that no one is ever fully prepared to take on the tasks of a school administrator. Every day is different and each student’s need changes over time, Ms. Neeman said. She said that she is determined to plan ahead as much as she can by developing good teaching and learning strategies while supporting the curriculum so that when challenges arise, she is better prepared to focus on them.
“I have a number of goals I have set for myself,” Dr. Neeman said. “My ultimate goal is to help students learn and succeed. When we can support the teachers and make sure they are prepared to teach students every day, our students understand our dedication to them. My other goal is to make this new position my career. I plan to make Milford my home and am here to stay. I want the community, the school staff and the students to really get to know me. I do not want them to see me as someone who is here and will leave in a couple years. I am fully dedicated to our community and want to be a name that the community knows and can rely on.”
Dr. Neeman said she is looking forward to getting to know and incorporate into the community. She commended Milford’s community involvement and the backing of students who attend district schools. She said she takes great satisfaction in watching students succeed, be ready for college, the workforce or the military. She said one of her goals is to make sure students believe in the school district to the point they return to the community as adults, sending their children to the same schools they attended and continuing the cycle of success for the community.
Secondary schools face many challenges, Dr. Neeman said. She said that the schools are often challenged with new curriculum and new initiatives making it difficult to focus on individual students. Her hope is to become a liaison who is able to help implement initiatives that improve the learning process while still focusing on students and the success of the individual. Dr. Neeman said she feels her job is to help teachers be successful in the state and nation’s eye so that they are ultimately successful in the eyes of students and the community.
Dr. Neeman attended the University of Maryland College Park after graduating from high school, studying Government and Politics along with Secondary Education. Her parents moved back to Milford soon after she went to college. She returned to Delaware, working as a long-term substitute at Lake Forest High School, hoping to collect teaching experience while completing her master’s in School Leadership from Wilmington University.
During her master’s program, Dr. Neeman had several opportunities to work with special education students and athletes.“I knew I had found my passion,” Dr. Neeman said. “I would coach and teach special education. After obtaining my Masters of Education in School Leadership, I moved upstate to teach at New Castle County Vo-Tech. While in the district, I served as a special education teacher and then special education coordinator. I also served on many district leadership teams and coached multiple sports.” After completing her Master’s, Dr. Neeman reentered Wilmington College to obtain her doctorate, defending her dissertation and earning the degree in July 2016. Her dissertation focused on general educators’ preparedness to teach in an inclusive environment. She was offered the position at Milford High School the same week she received her doctorate. She has also recently become engaged to Nicholas Marvel and they plan to marry next year.
Dr. Neeman said that she could not be more proud to represent such a wonderful district. She said that everyone has been incredibly welcoming and she knows she has a place she can call home for the remainder of her career.
“I am very excited to begin this new position,” Dr. Neeman said. “I could not be more grateful for everyone that I have encountered. I cannot wait to make the community proud.”
Sign up for you free digital subscription of The Weekly Review, delivered directly to your email every Tuesday morning. A quick cover-to-cover read to catch up on the news of the week and experience great stories about our local communities. Sign up for your free email subscription below.