Karsten Schlenter, Principal
I have been the principal serving the students at FHTMS since 2010. I am married to my wife,Toni, and we are the proud parents of three girls. Two of my daughters have entered the work force after completing their university studies and my youngest daughter is currently enrolled in a pre-med program at Elon University.
What excites you most about being the principal at FHTMS?
FHTMS provides me with the opportunity to become a transformational leader making a genuine difference in the life of our students. It is essential for us to build on students’ interests and passions in order to make learning meaningful, to keep them engaged and to inspire them to make difference. It is my sincere belief that in South Burlington we have the staff and the resources needed to be considered a state-of-the-art middle school that serves the needs of all students.
What is your most memorable moment as an educator?
When I was teaching at the high school in Saginaw, I had a female student who was in a crisis situation at home, was using drugs and alcohol, had attendance and discipline issues and became involved with the Juvenile Court. I had been a mentor for this young lady attempting to provide much-needed guidance and support, but she did not appear to be receptive. She was listening and appreciative, but her actions did not give me the impression that my advice made any difference. At some point, I was transferred to the middle school and lost track of this student until my wife and I met her working as a hostess at a local restaurant. She was excited to see me and let me know that she was enrolled in college and wanted to become an elementary teacher. She apologized for her actions and thanked me for all of my guidance and support and let me know that I appeared to be the only person who genuinely cared about her and the direction she was headed in. She let me know that this support resulted in this positive shift in her life. Often educators do not realize the transformational impact we can potentially have on students’ lives, who may lack that type of support at home.
What keeps you busy when you are not at work?
It is important for all of us to ensure a heathy balance in our life. I find distance running to be a great activity to stay in shape and I also find it valuable as stress relief. Aside from that I enjoy downhill skiing, hiking, traveling, reading, cooking, gardening and spending quality time with my family.
What is your favorite food?
While I enjoy eating a great variety of food from different ethnic origins, I favor Greek food. When I grew up in Germany there were many Greek restaurants in Germany, which had excellent food and a very uplifting atmosphere.
What else would you like parents and the community to know about yourself?
I have been a passionate educator since 1991 and have taught at the middle school, high school and college level. As the educational leader of the middle school it is imperative for me to provide the guidance for us to get all of our students ready to be productive and responsible citizens in an ever-changing world.