Associate Principal Lena Patton To Leave West

Photographer: Nick Moroder

For Tosa West Associate Principal Lena Patton, the idea of leaving Wauwatosa West for a new job as the district Science Curriculum Specialist in Milwaukee Public Schools is bittersweet.

“I was happy when I found out. To go through a nerve racking process and accomplish the goal feels great,” Patton said.

She will be leaving West after four years as Associate Principal.  Patton will be in charge of science curricula for all elementary, middle, and high schools in Milwaukee Public Schools.

One of her biggest regrets is that she will no longer work directly with students. As the science curriculum specialist she won’t have the everyday experience of being around kids with whom she has been working for the past 18 years.

“Students don’t understand the effect they have on us [staff]” said Patton  “There is a spirit and pride at West and the students enjoy being in school.”

The feeling is mutual.  Patton has had a strong impact on students at West. “My last couple of years I wasn’t the greatest student,” said Junior Naomi Rosa, but “she always listened to me and gave me constructive feedback but as a friend not a principal.” Rosa also says that “she told me to stay on my schoolwork, and stay out of trouble and don’t worry about drama.”

According to Principal Frank Calarco, the school benefitted in many ways from having Patton as Associate Principal. “She was an exceptional role model for kids of color to see a strong African American woman in her position” explained Calarco.

“She is irreplaceable not just as an associate principal but we are good friends” Principal Frank Calarco said. “I was excited and happy to hear that she got the position and it was something she really wanted.”

The Wauwatosa School District is currently engaged in a hiring process to replace Patton.  The district hopes to have a new Associate Principal hired as early as December 7th.