CAPITOL HEIGHTS – For Wendy Hall Frederick, life is all about transformations and chances to grow.
All it takes is a minute in her office inside Capitol Heights Elementary to notice the inspiration she takes from butterflies – the ultimate transformation story in nature – that are on every wall, bulletin board and surface in a variety and colors and sizes.
And transformations are close to Hall Frederick’s heart because she knows first-hand that it takes some time, and maybe a little push from a great teacher, to find your path and know your worth.
“People never believe me because of the person I am now, but when I was in elementary school, I just went through a phase where I didn’t care,” she said. “I had to repeat fifth grade. I went to summer school for sixth, seventh and eighth grade.”
It wasn’t until she got into high school and one teacher pushed her to reach her potential that Hall Frederick began to rise to her potential. That same teacher pushed her to go to college, though she was hesitant, and she ultimately decided to study elementary education.
Hall Frederick uses her personal story to motivate and inspire the students she interacts with everyday to let them know that they don’t have to be perfect, but they have to be willing to grow.
“I tell the kids about how I failed and went to summer school and wasn’t doing well,” she said. “If you’re doing bad and things look really bad, there’s always a chance. There’s always a chance. There’s hope for anybody.”
She said she just wants struggling students to know that somebody believes in them.
Despite her formal title being the Talented and Gifted (TAG) coordinator, Hall Frederick wears many hats at Capitol Heights Elementary School and her work never stops.
“I stay busy,” she said. “I stay real busy and my fiancé laughs at me because during the weekend I just sleep, if I’m lucky.”
Hall Frederick has spent 19 years teaching in Prince George’s County, with seven of those years at Capitol Heights, where she takes on any challenge and ask in stride. She has taken charge of the upper grades reading program, is the grade manager for the school, and is in charge of the school’s social media presence.
“I think because I am here, I just end up doing a whole lot of other things,’ she said. “There’s so many things, I can’t keep up.”
She has won and earned a variety of awards and recognitions and spearheaded the effort to get Capitol Heights Elementary an Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education Award.
The book fair, school tours and a student blogger club are also on her list of duties within the school, but Hall Frederick enjoys it all. She said she is an “all hands on deck” kind of educator, willing to do whatever it takes to get students involved and encouraged to learn.
That is the same philosophy she brings with her in her role as TAG coordinator. Although she does not have a class of her own, she has a special role in educating not only students, but their teachers, as she frequents classes to assist teachers, demonstrate teaching methods and also observe and give advice on lesson plans.
In her role, Hall Frederick said, she has the ability to create wider impacts by helping teachers to be all that they can. However that doesn’t come without some frustrations, as teachers themselves can be just as hard to guide as students.
Hall Frederick believes she is the type to give 110 percent at all times and finds herself frustrated when teachers do not want to give it their all while teaching.
“I find that there are a lot of teachers who want to give 80 percent, because that’s a B –its very good. But I’m not 80 percent. I want to go all out,” she said. “As long as you’re giving your best. Our students deserve the best. It’s all for the kids.”