It’s all relative: life as a staff member’s kid


Photo by Margaret Heffernan

Hannah Masling

Seeing a family member at school is usually a surprise. Is there a family emergency? Did your math teacher catch you cheating? Did you forget your lunch at home? But for a handful of Wilson students, seeing a relative in the halls is completely normal. They’re an instructional coach, the principal’s assistant, a dean, or even the principal.

“It has a lot more advantages than disadvantages, even if it does come with a little bit of embarrassment,” said senior Charlie Thompson. Charlie’s dad, David Thompson, works at Wilson as an instructional coach. Charlie appreciates having access to a printer, having a place to sit during free periods, and “always knowing that there’s someone at this school that I can go to and talk to.”

Junior Lucy Levenson, whose mom, Elizabeth Levenson, works in the main office as Principal Kimberly Martin’s assistant, explained that Levenson has strict policies on letting her position at the school benefit her; Levenson never helps Lucy look at her transcript or change her schedule.

While for the most part Lucy and Charlie stressed that having their parent work at Wilson wasn’t a big deal, they both mentioned increased pressure to perform well. “All the teachers know me so you can’t really get away with anything,” Charlie said. “You represent your parents so it’s especially like that when [my mom] knows everyone that you interact with,” Lucy added.

While Lucy’s mom typically resides in the main office and therefore doesn’t interact much with Lucy, Charlie’s dad frequently visits classrooms as part of his role as an instructional coach. “It’s a little weird, especially if he comes into my classroom to evaluate one of my teachers. But I’ve kind of made light of that, and if he comes into one of my classes I kind of poke fun at him before he can embarrass me,” Charlie said. Thompson has five children, only one of whom has not yet attended Wilson, and they each react differently when he performs classroom observations. “My oldest daughter would pretend like I didn’t exist and hide, or I’ll go into another class and Benny will be like ‘Sup pops?’ and disrupt the whole class.”

Thompson explained that working at Wilson has helped him spend more time with his kids and understand their high school experience.