Q&A with Leah Kastrup

Leah Kastrup
Leah Kastrup

Learn more about Leah Kastrup, a Primarily Math graduate in 2010 who was part of the second cohort of National Science Foundation funding for NebraskaMATH. Kastrup is now a principal at Conestoga Elementary in Omaha Public Schools.

How has the Primarily Math program impacted your teaching and teacher leadership?

The Primarily Math program has helped me to be a strong instructional leader, specifically in mathematics. Primarily Math helped to strengthen a growth mindset within myself and as I lead staff and teach students. We can do hard things!

Q: What are the ways you utilize the network you’ve built through Primarily Math?

One of the other participants is currently the teaching and learning consultant for Conestoga, so it is helpful to be on the same page with strengthening mathematics education for students when it comes to the school improvement process.

When you went through Primarily Math, you were teaching at Gomez Heritage. What fond memories do you have of your time there?

I loved teaching at Gomez Heritage as it was more than a school, it was a family! I enjoyed enhancing my Spanish speaking skills and the cultural experience of working at a Dual Language School. Que bonita es dos idiomas!

What made you decide to make the move to administration?

I have always envisioned myself being a principal, even when I was getting my bachelor's degree, that was my plan. I enjoy being a leader. I was the interim principal at Conestoga last year and at Indian Hill Elementary the year before. This is my first official entire year as a building principal at Conestoga.

How do you feel your experiences teaching math influence your approach as an administrator?

I love that I have first-hand experience with learning through productive struggle and math talk. I am better able to coach teachers in math instruction due to all of my experiences in Primarily Math.

What do you enjoy the most about the principal position?

I enjoy being an advocate for my students and staff. I enjoy problem-solving and school improvement. There is no greater feeling as an educator than being a part of a team that makes forward progress, which in turn positively impacts success for students.