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Respect is the Key Principle for Easton's Kaplan

Susan Kaplan reached to the side of her desk and peeled off the tape that was holding up a piece of paper. It was a high school report card delivered to her by the student--one of her former students from when she was a teacher at Samuel Staples Elementary School.

"It reminds me of the importance of relationships with every student you have," Kaplan, who becomes Helen Keller Middle School's new principal as of July 1, said in an interview Tuesday.

"It's going to be a big change for me. It's one that I will embrace and look forward to," said Kaplan, who has school photographs of all of the teachers at Helen Keller bordering her monitor in her office.

"The staff is very dedicated and stay here many years. They really know all of the kids–there's very much a homey feel to the school. It's a very warm feeling and that's a big function of the staff," said Kaplan.

Kaplan taught third grade at Samuel Staples Elementary School for four years and fifth grade for five years before becoming the assistant principal at Helen Keller Middle School in 2008. In her "former life," Kaplan worked in the corporate world at IBM Corporation.

"I found much of it challenging, but I didn't find it intrinsically rewarding," said Kaplan. "As a teacher, everything you do on a daily basis with children is important. ... It's not an easy field. Teachers work really hard on behalf of the children. "

She attributes her success with students to the respect that she both gives and receives. "I respect them for exactly where they are in the developmental process. I understand where they are and students recognize that," said Kaplan. Kaplan is also the only faculty member to have made cameo appearances in three of the school's plays.

Moving from teaching to being an assistant principal was a "difficult move" for Kaplan and she said she misses the classroom. "I loved teaching, but I realized I could have a wider net of impact to help the school system improve." As a principal, Kaplan hopes to embrace technology and make it more accessible to students.

Kaplan has lived in Easton since 1998 and considers it a "beautiful community with people who care deeply about each other."

Do you have any memories of Susan Kaplan as a teacher or administrator? Leave your comments below.

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