Mr. Munz Retires – Welcome, Ms. Messina
Last month marked the end of a long, distinguished career of Mr. Jay Munz. Mr. Munz began his career as a high school math teacher in the late 90s. He was the consummate professional. I always admired how he could keep himself calm and address challenges with intelligence, both in the classroom and outside the classroom. It was impressive because I knew he was an emotional guy. Yet, that emotion was placed in the right place all the time. Case in point – the last pep assembly was something special. Mr. Munz was invited to lead the victory cheer for the classes by Student Council president, Aly Didio. The emotion came out! With a big voice and loaded with the enthusiasm he always had for WLPS, he led the best cheer I’ve ever seen. It was one of coolest assemblies I have been privileged to be a part of.
A few weeks later, in the midst of the snow day/exam crunch, he had his other hat on – he calmly sat down with his replacement, Ms. Kristina Messina, to share with her how each student was progressing through our curriculum. He explained the nuances of teaching younger students and demonstrated the professionalism I had come to expect from him for nearly two decades. He didn’t have to do this but he wouldn’t have had it any other way. He was loyal to the Trojans until he stepped out the door…and, I bet he still is.
I gave Ms. Messina a few weeks to get acquainted with our students before I asked her thoughts on joining the team. I could hear the Michigan State grad explain, with the same type of professionalism as Mr. Munz, how her transition plan was working. How she spent a couple weeks ranging kids to see how far she could push them and what gaps existed. All good stuff you want to hear from a new teacher. I couldn’t resist asking her to compare WLPS to other places she worked (South Carolina and Metro Detroit). She immediately commented on how well the students engage with teachers. “It is clear there are expectations for how to behave with teachers. I like that. It is not as well done in other places.” She also made a comment I had not heard before which made me proud. “Siblings take care of one another. If one is sick the brother or sister are gathering handouts and homework to take home. I am especially impressed by this.”
Ms. Messina teaches primarily Algebra and Geometry this semester. I am hoping if your children have her as a teacher, you can visit her during our upcoming Parent Teacher Conferences on March 13. Welcome to our community, Ms. Messina. It is a great day to be a Trojan.