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The City Journals

New Eastlake principal comes with superhero power: love of learning

Mar 08, 2021 10:21AM ● By Julie Slama

New Eastlake Principal Kristie Howe, who came aboard in January 2021, is also known as Wonder Woman and has an office display to support this nickname. (Photo courtesy of Kristie Howe.)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

At Eastlake Elementary, there’s a superhero overlooking the Dragons, and she’s been told she’s quite the wonder woman.

In January 2021, former Assistant Principal Kristie Howe returned to Eastlake where she now is taking the helm of the elementary school. Former Principal Suzie Williams, who had served the school the past four years, will open the new elementary school west of Mountain View Corridor in the fall.

Howe was an assistant principal two years ago at Eastlake, and last year she split her time in the same position between Oakcrest Elementary and Antelope Canyon Elementary. 

“It’s like coming home,” she said. “Most of the teachers and kids are the same, so it’s really comfortable being here as a first-time principal.”

Before becoming an administrator, she taught 10 years at Daybreak Elementary in sixth grade and resource. In fact, it was at Daybreak where she got her nickname as Wonder Woman.

Daybreak’s special education team was submitting a fun photo of superheroes with their names underneath it for a conference. Howe’s name was underneath Wonder Woman.

“It just stuck after that,” she said. “My whole office is decorated with things students and families have given me from Happy Meal toys to posters and dolls. I didn’t realize how many Wonder Woman items are out there. I have three different versions of the same doll.” she added that she has been known to dress up as the character in a school-friendly costume for Halloween.

Howe is a product of Jordan School District, having attended Sunrise Elementary, Indian Hills Middle and Jordan High before the district split in 2009. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an endorsement in special education from Westminster College and her master’s in education/curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix.

“I was born to be a teacher; I’ve been teaching since I was three,” Howe said, adding that reading is one of her passions.

At that tender age, she read to her mother’s daycare students.

“Kids have been my whole world,” Howe said. “I want to make a positive impact on children’s lives. I love to go into a class and read and do activities with the students.”

She has been known to read a Mo Willems’ book and then have older students create their own “short and sweet” version of the story and buddy up with a younger students to share their stories. She also appreciates Roald Dahl’s books.

One activity Howe likes is to work with every grade asking them to write and illustrate a class book about when they were little and now that they’re grown up and what they are now able to do.

“I’ve usually done it around parent-teacher conferences so it can be shared with parents,” she said. “Then we leave it in the class so the next year’s class can read it and the teacher can have it as a memory book. I have a love of learning, and I want to support our teachers and students in their learning and goal setting and establishing that foundation of relationships and feeling successful.”

She appreciates the solid foundation that Williams established at Eastlake and plans to continue offering supportive professional development for teachers. She said last spring’s soft closure of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic made it even more aware that “we need to keep up with our skills.”

While her family—including her dogs, a chocolate and a white laboratory retrievers—likes to go camping or hiking, they also are crazy about escape rooms. As a native Wisconsinite, she’s a proud Cheesehead, who roots for her Green Bay Packers.

But ask her what her favorite time is and she says it’s not going to the movies or watching a streaming service to catch the newest “Wonder Woman” movie.

“Homework time with my kids is my favorite time,” she said. “I love reading a book with my daughter and another one with my son.”