Kristen Foster said she doesn’t expect her relationship with her students will change now that she has been promoted from assistant principal at Brookfield Middle School and Brookfield High School to principal of the high school.
“Since I started my career in education, I always focused on positive relationships,” she said. “That’s something I think is essential with students and with staff. That’s one thing I will continue. I feel that, if you show respect to students, they’ll show respect back. It’s a give and take.”
Foster, 45, has been giving to students for 19 years, 17 of them teaching first grade and computer literacy, English language arts and social studies at the middle school.
“I feel like this has been my home since I’ve been here so long,” said Foster, who lives in Niles. “We have excellent teachers. We have teachers that really care about kids, and we have kids that really care about their school and being here.”
She also complimented her fellow administrators, the support staff and the community.
“I think this whole community and this school district have really come together and it’s all about students,” Foster said. “My kids go to a different school district and we just don’t see that there. I think the way the community and the school district all come together is the most positive attribute that we do have.”
Foster said she wants to improve student achievement and accountability, and will look to her fellow administrators to help her with that.
“For the first time in a long time, all the buildings are kind of meshing and there’s a lot of communications,” she said. “We sit down, we figure things out together, which I think is kind of a new thing for Brookfield schools in general. I think that’s excellent.”promo
Over time, parent involvement in schools has fallen, largely due to parents being busy and the struggles of making ends meet, Foster said. She wants to try to reverse that trend, she said.
“I want to invite them in,” she said. “I want parents in school. I think that communication is the key, letting them know what’s going on at all times because they’re an integral part of the educational process. If we work together, that’s where we’re gonna see success.”
She said she will take a page from the book of Toby Gibson, the middle school principal who will become superintendent Aug. 1, by frequently using the one-call telephone program. Gibson called every Sunday to let people know of sports and arts events, club meetings and other activities that were going on for the week.
Foster added she will use phone calls and emails to reach out to parents, and continue the school’s social media efforts.
“I’m really gonna stress with the staff parent communications,” she said. “I think good communications are essential and that we are reaching out and everyone’s working together. I think that’s kind of where we fell short a little bit in the past, and I just think we need to get back there again.”
Foster will be paid $76,782.