Telstar Middle School Dean of Students Lindsay Luetje wears a superwoman cape fellow teacher Stephanie Mastroianni recently bought her. Submitted photo

BETHEL — Telstar Middle School Dean of Students Lindsay Luetje has received the New England League of Middle Schools A+ Administrator Award.

Described by peers as passionate, empathetic and a champion, her efforts inside and outside its doors never seem to end.

After teaching eighth grade English/language arts for 20 years at the school, Luetje was named dean of students in 2018.

Teacher Stephanie Mastroianni nominated Luetje for the award.

“Lindsay is a powerhouse, who, as our dean of students, leads the TMS faculty and students with determination, sensitivity and boundless energy,” Mastroianni said in her letter.

Superintendent Dave Murphy also spoke on Luetje’s value to the school.

“This award is well-deserved recognition for an outstanding educator. As the Dean of Telstar Middle School, Lindsay Luetje has been able to effectively build on the relationships she first developed with students, parents and staff during her years as an exemplary classroom teacher in the school,” Murphy said. “Her level of investment in her students and staff is apparent to all who come in contact with her.”

Part of Luetje’s job is resolving conflicts through restorative circles.

Mastroianni said the purpose of the circle is to have those who inflict harm and those harmed come together and talk. Often in these situations Luetje is asked by faculty or students for help, simply because they trust her, Mastroianni said.

Some days, students witness Luetje’s fun side. The last school day of each month she plays music to kick off Star Assembly Days, a schoolwide assembly that focuses on topics such as perseverance, embracing failure and building healthy friendships.

On Valentine’s Day, she took heart cutouts, put pencils in each one and taped them on every locker with the words “you matter.” She also wrote personal notes to teachers and stuck them on their doors.

One of Luetje’s biggest involvements is with the Oxford County Resiliency Project, a group that tries to reduce the effects adverse childhood experiences. Her work with the project sanctioned a two-year grant worth more than $200,000 for the school. The money is to develop and sustain a trauma responsive school system.

She also coaches soccer for kindergartners, takes students bowling and to movies and started a remembrance garden to honor students and staff who have died.

Last summer, she helped provide experiences for Chinese students who traveled to Bethel as part of a program she put together with Telstar High School Dean of Students John Eliot, and other staff. Luetje gave a writing lesson and hosted the group at her house for table painting, blueberry picking and a bonfire. In November, she and Eliot traveled to China with four students for two weeks, where they visited multiple schools, toured Beijing and visited the Great Wall.

“I appreciate the recognition for my efforts,” she said, “but honestly, I don’t do this job for awards. I really love what I do – middle school kids are my jam.”

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