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Profile of School Leader Kelsey Lambrecht, Collegiate Baton Rouge

Why did you decide to teach?

My freshman year of college I intended to major in education and psychology. I wanted to be a high school math teacher. I loved math and I loved my teachers. I wanted to impact kids’ lives in the ways they had impacted mine.

My senior year I heard about Teach for America and it felt like the exact thing I wanted to do. I wanted to care for kids and give them a great education. I was excited to engage adolescents in deep, philosophical conversations about the world around them.

I was placed teaching a self-contained class of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders with severe autism. They taught me more about myself and the world than I could have ever imagined. I got addicted to seeing kids achieve what others never thought they could. I realized there’s something broken with a system that doesn’t ensure that all kids are learning at their maximum potential. I realized I wanted to be on a team that refused to sell kids short.

What is your favorite moment in teaching?

When one of my students asked a college representative from an Ivy League school whether or not they had programs that supported individuals with significant intellectual disabilities. The representative remarked she had never been asked the question before, to which my student gracefully replied, “If you aren’t a school that serves all scholars, then I don’t want to go to your school.” I felt so proud of her courage in standing up for her convictions in a manner that garnered respect from the college rep.

Why did you decide to be a school leader?

There is no better way to spend my time than creating a space where kids and adults grow into their best selves.

I thought about becoming a school leader for a while, but felt too afraid to actually do it. I was fearful of all the ways I could fail. Eventually I realized, if I ask my students every day to believe they can grow, then I should set the same bar for myself. Fear is not a valid reason to not lean into your dreams. It takes courage and grit to confront those fears. Inspired by my students, I am energized and ready to found Collegiate Baton Rouge.

What excites you about opening a high school in Baton Rouge?

All students deserve access to quality educational experiences. That’s not happening for all kids in Baton Rouge. I want 150 kids each year to graduate, poised and ready to meet their most ambitious outcomes. I think we have what it takes to accomplish that. It won’t be easy, but it will be life-changing for our kids.

Parents deserve options. I think it’s really challenging to be a parent. Your world is consumed with 100,000 variables that affect the quality of life of the little humans you love more than yourself. Choosing a school should not be a compromise. Collegiate Baton Rouge is committed to creating a home for parents and students led by a team passionate about delivering on their promise of a high quality education for their kids.

What is the vision for your school?

I want this school to be a place where all students, regardless of where they are starting high school, find a school that is truly challenging them to their most rigorous post-secondary outcomes. I want to build a school where every student realizes his/her potential and tackles world changing pursuits.

It’s graduation 2021, where is your class headed?

To college! And to a life of personal fulfillment and satisfaction. To being life-long learners and leaders in their families, communities, cities, and world.

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