Bryant Administrator Leads With Her Heart

By Office of Communications
Employee News
March 28, 2024

April 1-5 is National Assistant Principals Week, honoring the enormous contributions of assistant principals to student success. Last year, Bryant High School Assistant Principal Karen Hertel was selected as the Outstanding School-Based Leader at FCPS Honors, the annual celebration of outstanding employees. This year, she is leading Bryant as its principal. 

“Karen's leadership philosophy is deeply anchored in trust, transparency, humility, and accountability, forming an unwavering foundation for instructional excellence,” her Honors recognition stated. “She actively collaborates with the community and business partners and procures vital resources for Bryant High School students and their families. Under her guidance, the resource room was transformed, empowering student service leaders to prepare essential ‘to-go’ bags and kits for families in need.” 

Karen was nominated for this recognition not only by her colleagues but also by teachers who she supervised. “From the first time I met Ms. Hertel, she impressed me with her enthusiasm and her genuine desire to determine the best way to meet each and every student’s unique learning and behavioral needs in the school,” one teacher said. “She is dedicated, professional, enthusiastic, and goal-oriented. Ms. Hertel leads with her heart and always finds joy in her work which is contagious. She creates an environment where others want to work with and for her.”

Similarly, another teacher she supervised said, “I remember her from the first introduction as someone who is 100% invested in the people she works with. Her friendliness, openness, and sense of humor was (and still is) remarkable and contagious.” 

Karen has worked with FCPS for 30 years. She started her career as a long-term substitute, then transitioned to a health and physical education teacher. She has also worked as an athletic trainer, resource teacher, assistant director of student activities, and administrator for the Extended School Year program. 

“Her approach to leadership is centered around the school’s core beliefs, which include family, excellence, and relationships. As a passionate, collaborative, and communicative leader, Karen cultivates an enriching learning environment where staff and students thrive. She perceives each interaction with students as a chance to fortify relationships, deliberate on aspirations, and develop skills crucial for post-secondary success,” her Honors recognition stated. 

Another colleague said Karen “understands that leadership is a relationship and by getting to know others and their stories, you build strong foundations, which improve work productivity and engagement.” As a leader, this colleague stated, Karen takes care of the people who then take care of the school’s students. 

Thank you to all our assistant principals, whose work contributes to the success of each and every FCPS student.