South Lakes welcomes Seahawk alumna Kim Retzer as principal
She walked the very same halls, learned in the very same classrooms, and even took physical education in the same gym.
Kim Retzer has been a Seahawk since she graduated in 1989. Now, she leads Seahawk Nation as principal.
Five years after graduating, Retzer became a special education teacher and eventually an assistant principal at South Lakes. After the 2010-11 school year, Retzer left the Seahawk family to gain Advanced Placement experience as an assistant principal at Westfield.
“I’ve watched the school as a student and how Reston has changed and ultimately South Lakes change,” Retzer said. “There has always been a strong sense of community – it doesn’t matter if it was 1985, the spirit of South Lakes hasn’t changed.”
After the retirement of former principal Bruce Butler, Retzer made her return as the new principal.
“When Mr. Butler left, he left some pretty big shoes to fill,” senior Carson Gillions said. “I think that Mrs. Retzer is the only person who could fill those shoes.”
“She knows how things are done here and knows how to make the school year the best it can be,” sophomore Simran Dhungel said. “She has strong Seahawk pride which is something that is important to lead a really proud school like South Lakes. Everybody knew Mr. Butler and he always made a point to walk around and talk to students. I’m interested to see how Mrs. Retzer interacts with everyone.”
Retzer agrees this is her biggest challenge.
“I try to pick tables where I don’t know the students,” Retzer said. “It is important to build relationships and I admire Mr. Butler for doing such a good job at that. I want students to know that if there is a problem they can come to me.”
But getting to know every student is not her only challenge. As class sizes continue to rise, difficulties range from not enough parking passes to lack of space for trailers.
“There are some day to day challenges: trying to balance lunches, class sizes, and teachers sharing rooms,” Retzer said. “We’re just really having to think about how to do things now that we’re of 2,300 plus and projected to keep growing.”
Despite the many obstacles she is faced with, Retzer keeps a positive attitude.
“Every challenge is a great opportunity,” Retzer said. “I feel very prepared for this position and I love coming to work everyday. It’s an exciting time to be principal here, I think I learn something new every day.”
“I didn’t want to be principal just anywhere,” Retzer said. “This is like a second home to me. Quite honestly, [serving as principal] is an opportunity to give back to a school that had such a big impact on who I am today.”