Ahead of the Class

Former Trailridge social studies teacher Chaussee Wendling steps up as associate principal in the wake of Harrington’s retirement

New associate principal Chaussee Wendling sat with students during lunch Nov. 18. After speaking with them she was interrupted by a basketball jersey in front of her face. She turned around to see former student Josh Karlin, junior, standing behind her.

“How were basketball tryouts yesterday?” Wendling asked.

“It was good,” Karlin said.

“Are you sore?”

“A little; I had to do push-ups.”

“Well, good luck,” Wendling said. “Keep me updated on how it goes.”

Wendling is a 1997 South graduate who worked for the Frito Lays plant in Topeka after graduating from the University of Kansas in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Science. After working in Topeka for a year, she transferred to Denver as a warehouse manager.

“I did a lot of the mentoring program, and I was able to teach,” Wendling said. “It was wonderful because I got to apply some of my leadership skills… I loved the teaching aspect of the job, so that was what made me get my degree.”

After receiving her teaching certificate she began teaching at Trailridge Middle School in 2007 as an eighth grade social studies teacher.

“Teaching is the best,” Wendling said. “Every day is different. That’s why I loved teaching. Every time you teach, you see those light bulbs go off. It really is fun: those “a-ha” moments when you’re talking and a student understands and they get it.”

After being notified that there was a position at Northwest she immediately filled in as an associate principal.

“I get out in the classrooms, and the job is like any other administrator’s,” Wendling said. “There are in-services I go to sometimes. Not only do I get to help with the staff development here and I get to help with students, I do get to go to professional development trainings to learn.”

Working as an associate principal, her goal is to help every student to succeed.

“If you put your mind to it, you can get through anything,” Wendling said. “Pretty much I have an open door. Hopefully, I’m not in the office too much and more in the hallways and the classrooms. I want to be a positive influence, and I want them to know that I am here for them.”


Chausee Wendling from smnw on Vimeo.