New department heads get their heads in the game


Lauren Francese, former history teacher at Bedford and at Staples, is the new Social Studies department head. She’s also a very busy lady. Her phone rings non-stop, and the office secretary Joyce Evans sits patiently at her desk, letting you know that Francese is hard at work or on a conference call, and to come back in ten minutes or so.

John Wetzel, former calculus teacher and new math department head, can empathize. He’s at his desk, responding to an email about 5th grade’s math curriculum, but makes time to sip his coffee and smile for a photo.

Both Francese and Wetzel are new to their respective jobs as department heads. Both are hectically busy.

Both are enjoying the work, fast-paced as it is.

Wetzel describes being a department head in one simple metaphor: “It’s like putting 1000 marbles in a mesh bag.”

Francese describes her job as taking care of teachers and making sure they have everything they need, from physical materials, like paper, to online resources, like databases.

“I also do many things at the mysterious central office, from correlating the CAPT data to approving students switching classes,” Francese said.

Wetzel’s job is similar; he works on curriculum, managing teachers and students and making instructional decisions aimed to improve student education.

They both miss interacting with students and having those conversations with teenagers that help them learn anything from the Civil War to differential equations. They both miss their classrooms, and life can be too busy as an administrator.

Busy, but rewarding. “It’s a new adventure, a new professional journey,” Francese said.

One floor up, Wetzel definitely agrees. “I am like a student taking a course for the first time. It’s challenging, but that’s what makes it interesting and fun.”