Steeleville High School principal goes the distance to lead students to 'whichever path they choose'
Steeleville High School Principal/Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Haertling is committed to making students feel appreciated and well-equipped for their future endeavors.
“I want every student to feel valued and cared for when they walk in the doors each morning,” Haertling told SW Illinois News. “I want them to feel like we are a resource not only in school work but in life and that we are here to help them during their four years in high school, as well as post-graduation. My goal is that every student leaves Steeleville High prepared to continue on whichever path they choose. That could be a four- or two-year college, vocational training, military or the workforce.”
Haertling’s entire career in education has been in the Steeleville School District with the exception of student-teaching she conducted at Granite City High School. She began teaching at Steeleville High School (SHS) in August 1995. She taught biology, anatomy and physiology, health and survey of science. She has also served as head volleyball coach and an assistant principal/teacher. Haertling was hired as SHS principal in August 2003 and her title was expanded to include assistant superintendent in May 2006. She also currently serves as a volunteer assistant cross country coach.
“My roles at Steeleville High School have changed over the years but I have enjoyed all of them,” Haertling said. “Although I still miss teaching and coaching and the daily interaction with the students I had in those roles, I also love having the ability to support curriculum, programs, new initiatives, teachers, coaches and students on a larger, school-wide/district-wide basis. My favorite part of the job is working with students in any capacity and working with teachers on curriculum. My teachers have such wonderful ideas and I love being able to help them make many of these a reality.”
Haertling was born in Maryland and currently lives in Steeleville. She graduated from Pinckneyville High School and then attended Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville on a softball scholarship. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a certification to teach in 1994. She went on to earn her master of science degree in education and specialist in education from Eastern Illinois University.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” Haertling said. “I have always had a passion for learning and education in general.”
While most of her time is spent working on school-related initiatives and attending extracurricular events, Haertling tries to help the community whenever she can.
“Many times this involves helping coordinate students and clubs to help with events and pitching in to help as well,” Haertling said. “I send out a weekly email so that parents and community members can stay informed about our curriculum and schedule of events. I attend the chamber meetings so that I can understand what is happening in the business community and give updates regarding the school. I am a member of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Wine Hill and recently began serving on the Church Council.”
Haertling also enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to new places, reading and spending time outdoors.