A lighthearted Q & A for a more personal look with The de Paul School’s newest Head of School, Dr. Laurie Bottiger.
The de Paul School is proud to welcome Dr. Laurie Bottiger as the new Head of School. She will be the third Head in the school’s fifty-year history.
Dr. Bottiger has been Head of School for three independent schools beginning in 2005. She was recently Head of School at the Gifft Hill School, St. John, USVI and is most recently a teacher at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Potomac, Maryland, as well as a teacher trainer.
As both a teacher and school leader, she has spent decades learning and fostering the understanding of brain physiology, developing and implementing pedagogy, and training teachers to design classrooms, lessons, and cultures that support individual learning to ensure confidence, competence, and connectedness for each learner. Like the long history at The de Paul School, which provides a research based academic program that is truly different and tailored to needs of students with learning differences, Dr. Bottiger has always had this ethos as a guiding force in her practices both as a leader and teacher
Angela Chumbley, Board Chair and member of the Search Committee said, “Dr. Bottiger will work diligently to continue our mission while keeping an eye on our strategic objectives. Her love of students and faculty were apparent during her visits.”
We asked Dr. Bottiger a few questions so our de Paul community could get to know her on a more personal level as the start of the 2021-2022 school year fast approaches.
1. What did you enjoy most during your first 24 hours of being Head of School of the de Paul School?
During my first 24 hours, I was wonderfully affirmed at the absolute brilliance that de Paul School and its practices have brought to our community. Every teacher I spoke with was deeply passionate about their learners and the unique attributes each learner brings to the school setting. I also had the random opportunity to meet a few alumni, some who hadn’t been in the building for many years. Every single one of them says without hesitation that their “de Paul experience was life changing”.
2. What was your favorite subject in school?
I have always loved school! Learning new things gives me great excitement. Throughout school, I really enjoyed our classes and projects which integrated multiple disciplines. For example, in fifth grade when we wrote our own magazine series. In high school, when we did labs in every science class, I felt like everything we were doing was really important.
3. Who was your favorite teacher?
I have a deep fondness for my 2nd grade teacher. She always smelled like oranges and if we were behaved, at the end of the day she would jump over her chair. This was a lovely woman who always had coiffed hair and low heels on her feet. She was so excited for our learning in reading, math and writing that she made us feel like we could do anything.
4. What was your favorite after school activity when you were in elementary school?
I attended a really small rural elementary school. We did grade level plays and had several performances throughout the year. I really loved it when we learned to play guitar in 4th grade. We were each assigned our own guitars and we took them home on the school bus with us.
5. What is your favorite place to eat in Louisville?
Oh my, how do you pick a favorite place to eat in Louisville? I am a foodie and Louisville seems to be a foodie town! My meals have been absolutely delicious. I really enjoy learning about the stories of the independent restaurants. I am really interested in the connection between so many people who have been refugees, relocated to the area or simply have a love for their special foods and how they share that with us through their enterprises. I learned to cook and bake with my Grandma. I understand the love of growing your own food and making it.
6. What three adjectives best describe your personality?
Energetic, sincere and compassionate.
7. What was your favorite part about being a teacher?
I believe that every child deserves all we have to help ensure each of them to know and believe how important and valuable they are to our community and society. As a teacher, it has been my privilege to meet and spend time with hundreds and maybe thousands of children. Looking a child in the eye and helping them to see that the world is a better place because of he or she is an absolute gift. Developing trust with each child and fostering their confidence to know they can do absolutely anything is rewarding beyond words.
8. What is your favorite childhood book?
As a little girl, I really loved the book series “Frog and Toad”. I think it must have been because with both similarities and differences, they had adventures both big and small. I also have a really strong memory of “Francis Birthday”. Francis was a bear and it just seemed so magical that his birthday was so special
9. Who is your favorite sports team?
Growing up in Western New York, I am an avid Bills Fan. And, after living in Kansas City for 12 years, our hearts really grew to love the Chiefs. I loved the Bills and Chief way before they became leaders in their sport.
10. What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?
In the summer, I love being outside (actually year round). Nature is my medicine. Spending time by the water, hiking through a path in the woods, admiring and nurturing the growth plants and flowers with their many colors and scents are a true joy. I grew up farming and learned to work the fields to create fresh “everything”. That said, picking berries is an absolute favorite. Then, making them into pies, jams or simply popping them in my mouth with or without fresh whipping cream is a gift every single time. My mouth waters as I write about it.
We look forward to Dr. Bottiger continuing the long rich-history of The de Paul School legacy!