For 13 years, Simone Kennel has been employed on the M-A campus and worked various jobs. She is an important figure here as a result of her time, dedication, and development of the school through her efforts.
Students often tend to view teachers and other staff members simply as their work. However, Kennel contains more depth than just her administrative accomplishments, and dress code regulations.
Despite being born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kennel views herself as a Bay Area native. Until the age of nine, when her family relocated to America for a job opportunity for her father, she attended a strict public school, complete with uniforms.
When Kennel and her family first moved to the United States, they lived in Munster, Indiana, a non-diverse community. Because of her South African accent, she had a hard time fitting in. Later, Kennel’s father got a job in California, so her family moved to the Bay Area, where she has lived ever since. She attended San Mateo High School, and there she discovered her passion for English. Her inspiration from her high school English teachers led her to earn a degree in English from UC Berkeley.
Kennel first worked at a property management company in the Financial District in San Francisco, but she soon realized that she “wanted to teach, not sit behind a desk.” Following this epiphany, she enrolled at San Francisco State University and obtained credentials to teach English. Afterwards, for nine years, Kennel taught special needs students at a middle school in South San Francisco before relocating to M-A, where she taught in the special education department for five years. Thereafter, she became the Dean Of Students , and finally ascended to the position of vice principal in 2008.
Now, Kennel is employed as a co-principal along with Matthew Zito. Her duties have changed from supervising teachers, working with technology, and carrying out discipline to bigger picture projects involving instructional or summer school plans. This job is large step for Kennel, but because of her experience and time spent here, she confirms she is “intimately familiar with every inch of the campus.”
Kennel believes good administrators and teachers are people who have “a passion to help students learn to their greatest potential.” She also believes it is important to help students learn based on their strengths instead of their deficits and to have an optimistic mindset that anything is possible. Her job as an administrator is to “make sure teachers are teaching and kids are learning the best that they can.”
Kennel wants the student body to know that she is very passionate about education and has had a lot of experience working in the classroom. The most rewarding feeling, she says, is when graduates visit her and tell her how successful they have been since their time at M-A. Kennel also notes that the climate on campus has definitely changed over the years to become a “nice, comfortable climate.”
While Kennel devotes a lot of her time to her job, she also has a family. Kennel and her husband of 16 years have a 13-year-old son, Max, who is part of a Spanish immersion program. Kennel herself aspires to be fluent in Spanish and practices with her son often. In addition to practicing Spanish, she enjoys cooking and cycling. If she wasn’t in administration, her dream would be to go to culinary school to become a chef. Despite this side activity, teaching is her true passion, and she plans to pursue her career in education for at least 20 more years.