Mrs. Karen Hess began her career in education as a Family & Consumer Science teacher and has experience teaching at the middle school and high school levels. She has worked extensively with curriculum development and instructional design in this capacity.
In 2001, an opportunity arose to create a meaningful culminating project for seniors to meet their graduation requirement. After selecting a team of cross-curricular teacher representatives, Mrs. Hess led the team through research and discussion to design a comprehensive Graduation Project that was truly meaningful and demonstrated higher order thinking skills. The project emphasized student growth as each student designed their own project, and then represented their work through a formal paper and presentation. The project received several awards including the National Civic Star Award sponsored by AASA. This award was given as a result of the community involvement component of the project which required each student to select a mentor, and then also included community members as part of the evaluation panel. The Golden Apple Award in Applied Studies was granted by Pennsylvania’s Speaker of the House in 2006. The Graduation Project was shared in several conferences so other school districts across the nation could follow the lead of developing a project with academic rigor. These venues included PASCD, AASA and NSBA. The concept ensuring appropriate challenge amongst all students lent itself well to the next role as Gifted Facilitator.
After 16 years as a teacher, Mrs. Hess became the Assistant Principal of Manheim Central Middle School. During this tenure of three years, she facilitated the Title I and the RtII for math and reading. Promoting literacy and a sense of community in a building of 1000 students in grades 5-8 can be quite a challenge. Mrs. Hess worked with a dynamic group of teachers who had a vision of how to accomplish both tasks through a program they designed and titled “Our Novel Experience”. This endeavor incorporated a specifically chosen text for the whole student body to read, a kick-off assembly, and a culminating assembly in which the students were able to speak directly to the author and/or illustrator via Skype. Mrs. Hess and another teacher were invited to share components of this program at AASA’s National Conference on Education in February 2013.
The utilization of Instructional Strategies in the classroom continues to be a focus as she has been trained in Learning Focused Schools, Dimensions of Learning, and APL. During her tenure at Manheim Central Middle School, Mrs. Hess had the privilege of allowing Bill & Persida Himmele access to students and teachers as they investigated how teachers were utilizing different strategies to make sure all students were involved in the lesson and understood concepts presented. As a result, Manheim Central Middle School was featured in the book they authored, “Total Participation Techniques”.
Mrs. Hess is excited to continue her career in Manheim Central School District as Principal at H. C. Burgard Elementary. She resides in Landisville with her husband, Lane. They have a son, Ben, who currently attends Penn State University.
Her educational background includes a B.S. from Messiah College and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching from Penn State University. She also holds her Principal’s Certificate from Penn State. She is currently enrolled in Immaculata University’s doctoral program in Educational Leadership.