PCY: Meet Ms. Hetzel: She Puts the PAL in Assistant Principal!

PCY students have a new pal in the office. Her name is Ms. Hetzel, and she wants them to know she is there to help!

As the new assistant principal, she is excited to be a part of such a terrific school and plans to do her part to make PCY even greater.  “I really want the students to be happy and feel that they belong to the school. I want it to be a safe place where they can be unique, be accepted for who they are, and other students can appreciate the differences and similarities of their peers.”

Ms. Hetzel grew up in nearby San Gabriel Valley. As a kid, she played softball, volleyball, and was the song leader on the cheer squad. What she enjoyed most about school was her teachers, the school routine, and her friends. One of her teachers even became a role model for her. “I liked this one teacher, Mrs. Allen. She taught 5th grade, and she was really funny, and you could tell she loved teaching. It was a fun class and a great place to be.”

Ms. Hetzel became a teacher herself in 1997. While she taught almost all the elementary grades, she spent the most time teaching kindergarten, 1st grade, and 3rd grade. In 2007, she started managing a Response to Intervention (RTI) program that sparked her desire to become a principal someday. “When I was leading the RTI program, I saw how important it was to pay attention to every student and that every student had to have their needs met in a different way. It’s about looking at the whole child, from eye problems to academic and emotional issues, and getting a team together to work for that child.”

After that experience, she went back to school herself to get her administrative credential. Later, she joined LCUSD in the fall of 2014 as a Teacher on Special Assignment, focusing on integrating Common Core standards, curriculum, assessments, and technology.

Teachers and principals need a great deal of education in order to do their jobs, so Ms. Hetzel knows exactly how it feels to be a student. She attended California State University, Fullerton, where she majored in business. After she graduated, she knew she wanted to teach so she decided to continue her education by getting her master’s degree in human development along with her teaching credential from Pacific Oaks College. She still wasn’t finished. A few years later, she went back to school to earn her administrator’s credential from California Lutheran University. “I always loved teaching and helping. I think it’s exciting to see them learn.”  

She wants PCY students to know that she is available to assist them with any issues or difficulties they have. “Kids are trying to figure out this puzzle of how they fit into this world. Mistakes are a learning opportunity. Education takes time, patience, and being exposed to lots of different kinds of things. Making a bad choice and learning from it is a chance to make a better person.”

Since the start of a new school year provides a great opportunity to start fresh, Ms. Hetzel offers this advice to students: “Make sure you are direct with people--your friends and teachers--and ask for help and clarification, work on being honest and accepting of your friends and classmates.”

She would also like to thank everyone at PCY--students, staff, and parents--for being so friendly and helpful. “It’s been really great. Everyone is very welcoming, nice, and really supportive.

To help everyone get to know her even better, Ms. Hetzel shared some of her all-time favorite things:

1. Favorite Dinner: A filet mignon, with very rich mashed potatoes, and a caesar salad
2. Favorite Dessert: Baskin Robbins makes my favorite ice cream for only 3 months a year. It’s called Love Potion 31, and it has vanilla with raspberry ribbons and chocolate hearts with more raspberry inside. I only have one quart left, and I have to hide it from my daughter. (Shhhh).
3. Favorite Sport to Watch: Baseball, specifically the Dodgers
4. Favorite Music: Classic Rock
5. Favorite Movies:  Comedies
6. Favorite Candy: Peanut M&M's
7. Favorite Children’s Book: Tales of the 4th Grade Nothing
8. Favorite Travel Destination: Hawaii
9. Favorite Hobby: Spending time with my own children. I have a daughter at PCY and a son at PCR. I like to go to the beach with them or the Huntington library--to go explore together
10. Favorite Canine: I have an English bulldog named Lucy. She is really cute, and she is funny because she hates to exercise.