Ms. Larkin: What It’s Like Being New Assistant Principal

Spectrum spotlights Ms. Larkin, beloved former leadership teacher and current assistant principal.


Melissa Strome and Ben Goldman

In this week’s Staff Spotlight, we sat down with Ms. Larkin, West Bloomfield High School’s beloved former leadership teacher and current assistant principal.

How many years have been teaching here at WBHS? What have you taught?

I have taught in West Bloomfield for 6 years. I did my student teaching at Troy High, in Troy, Michigan. When I first started at WB I taught World History and then in my second year I took over Leadership and became the Student Activities Director. I have also taught Michigan History and Civics.

Was being involved in the leadership program something new for you, or have you always been involved in leadership?

I have been involved in student leadership programs since I was twelve. It started at my middle school as a student and in high school I traveled to national leadership conferences . .  . student leadership has always been a passion of mine. I worked at the state leadership organization summer camp for 10 years and so I had a lot of leadership background in term of developing curriculum . . . I expressed interest in it when I first came here.

The way that I stepped into the role was my first year I sponsored the sophomore class. It just so happened that my second year teaching, that teacher left.

How did you end up at WBHS? Why here?

The diversity. I wanted to teach in a school with various opinions and students with different cultures. That is what I experienced at Troy High. I saw the potential in the school. When I interviewed for the position, I asked Mr. Watson what school spirit is like and he said that it is pretty much nonexistent and I knew that I had a lot of ideas that could turn around the school a little bit. I was excited about the possibility of working with leadership students and other students to make the school more inviting and more connected.

Did you always want to be a teacher?

To be honest, I really didn’t. I wanted to go into psychology. I started as a psych major… (but realized) the study of neurons is not for me. I looked into what I was passionate about, and that was students. I learned that from the summer camp that I worked at. I finished out my degree in Social Studies from MSU and got my teaching certificate from Wayne State. My degree from MSU is called Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Sciences and my minor was geography.

I think that it was super helpful understanding some psychology when taking on this role. I am not a counselor, but I have some psych background.

Do you have any mentors? Anyone you look up to?

My high school leadership teacher Larry Streeter. I was painfully shy my freshman year of high school. I mean painfully shy . . . I was really really quiet. My leadership teacher really brought me out of my shell. He made me a totally different person. By my senior year, I was leading chants and cheers at the pep assemblies… a speaker for my class. He definitely made a huge impact on me for sure.

What are your hobbies? What do you like to do outside of school?

I like to spend time with my husband. We like to travel up North when we can. We have an awesome dog named Walker; we adopted him in November. He is a Golden Doodle… I like to try to exercise… as much as I can. I like to run; we set up like a home gym in our garage; we have a boxing bag. I also like to do yoga, so I do the yoga here . . .  I am here all the time. I am working all the time. I don’t really have free time anymore.

You mentioned your husband, Mr. Larkin . . . what is he up to now?

Mr. Larkin is working at a company called SVT (Sport View Technology). He sells different technology devices to different verticals. His vertical is the healthcare industry. He sells little cell phones that nurses use; that connect the nurses to the patients and the patient’s room. He also could venture into restaurants. He is still coaching golf. He coached Girls’ Golf in the fall and will soon be starting Boys’ Golf. He definitely still wants to be connected with the high school but loves what he is doing now. He also referees so he was a basketball coach, likes to stay involved with basketball, so he referees. He’s still alive, he still exists.

That’s good!

Getting back to you now . . . how is your new position at WBHS different than teaching leadership students?

I think that in this role you have the opportunity to impact more kids. I loved being in the classroom, but when I was in the classroom I was only able to see 180 kids throughout the school year. So now, I have met so many more students that I never even knew were students in our building . . . I think you have the ability to impact on a wider scale. I want to extend the yoga program into a student health and wellness program and do other events . . . so just adding programs that will allow for different students to feel like they have a place in the school and feel accepted.

Do you have a particular message you would like to tell the students of WBHS?

I want students to know that I am approachable, my door is always open. Anything they need, I am here to help students and that has always been my philosophy. So even if they don’t know me personally yet, I am sure that we will get to know each other. I just want to help students. I just want them to know that there is a place for them in this school and I will do whatever I can to help them get what they need; be it college applications or scheduling requests or if they are struggling with something. I am here, my door is open. They just need to come in. AND I have candy.

Lastly, is there any motto or advice you would like to share?

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You grow the most in moments that are difficult or uncomfortable.


Do you have any questions of your own for Ms. Larkin? Leave them below and they may be asked in a follow-up interview!