Michele Lenertz is Arroyo Verde Elementary’s new principal.
“I have always been drawn to education,” said Lenertz. “I babysat when I was a teenager, volunteered as a camp counselor and was a campus monitor in college.”
Lenertz grew up just outside San Diego in El Cajon and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in liberal studies from California State University, San Bernardino, and her doctorate in organizational leadership from Brandman University, an online program.
“My first teaching job was in 1994,” she said. “I taught fifth grade for Rialto Unified School District. I taught fifth and first grade for four years, then moved to Riverside and taught kindergarten for one year. In 1999, I took a pause from teaching to stay home with my kids. We moved to Redlands in 2004. My husband’s parents lived here, and we wanted to be closer. My oldest is now a senior at Redlands High.”
Lenertz went back to teaching in 2007. She taught first, second, fourth and eighth grades for Alvord Unified School District in Riverside.
“I was an instructional coach at the elementary level,” she said. “I taught multiple grades, so I have an understanding of the learning spectrum. I also had the opportunity to be an instructional coach and enjoyed working with teachers to hone their skills.
“I left Alvord Unified in 2011 and was hired at the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools to be the math curriculum coordinator,” continued Lenertz. “Math is my strong suit. I did that for three years. My focus was rolling out Common Core standards, and I got to work more with teachers and administration.”
In 2015, Lenertz was hired as Washington Elementary assistant principal. In 2016, she was named principal and worked there until taking the Arroyo Verde position for Redlands Unified. Lenertz and her family also own Mill Creek BBQ on Orange Tree Lane. The family purchased the restaurant a few years ago.
“One of my friends reached out to me about the Arroyo Verde job,” said Lenertz. “I wanted to be able to serve the community I live in and where my children went to school. It was a great opportunity, so I applied in September.”
Lenertz said she is excited to support the great work in Redlands Unified.
“When I was home for eight years, I volunteered in our classrooms and PTAs, so I am excited to get back into the community,” she said.
Lenertz’ favorite thing about being a principal is interacting with everyone.
“I love greeting the students,” she said. “I enjoy being out among the kids and watch and follow their school careers. Parents turn over their most precious treasure to us, so I want to watch their development.”
Lenertz said the hardest thing about being a principal is balancing work and family time.
“It’s challenging, but I am excited to be here,” she said. “Redlands has been so good for my family, and it is nice to be able to give back.”