New Role Both Rewarding, Challenging for Interim Principal Hearden


Riley Guyette, Editor-in-Chief, Online Tritonian

Sometimes life can drastically change in one single moment. 

This was the case with Mrs. Andrea Hearden, a former NDA teacher who has now been thrust into the position of interim principal for a year. 

She has taught chemistry, physics and math for 31 years at NDA before now. 

After the announcement of the departure of former principal Patrick Browne, the school immediately went to work on finding someone to fill his role. 

The search committee struggled to find the right fit for the school and needed to determine how to move forward in the coming school year. 

This led to the science teacher being offered a job as interim principal for one year. 

“People have encouraged me for a long time to consider this position, and I never felt like it was the right time,” she said. “But at this time in my life, I felt like it was something I could say ‘yes’ to, and I definitely felt God pushing me to learn and grow.”

Her new role has thus far been rewarding yet slightly challenging.

For instance, Hearden has enjoyed building professional relationships with people around the building whom she had before not spoken to much, and she has enjoyed getting to see how the school works from a different perspective.

She finds herself visiting classrooms whenever she is feeling like she is missing teaching her students. 

“I love teaching and I love my students and I knew that leaving the classroom would be the hardest part,” she explained. “When I’m feeling particularly like I’m missing my classes, I’ll pop into some other classes and just see what’s going on and get a taste of it. I think that will probably be my favorite part of the year.” 

Being able to view how other teachers teach their classes has dramatically altered who she will be as a teacher going forward. 

“I’ve been into some classrooms already, and there are so many amazing things going on. People all do things so differently. The way they teach differs and they have different kinds of relationships with the students and it’s really exciting to get to see that,” she said. 

Hearden did not expect to be troubled by some of the challenges that have come with this role. 

She explained, “I feel very confident writing the kinds of things that I have to write in my teaching job, and I have always considered myself good at writing, but in this job, I have needed to utilize various different sets of vocabulary. I feel pretty challenged by that, which is a surprise to me.”  

The principal has made it her goal to ensure that she makes her job more manageable for the next principal. 

“We ask our principal to do a lot, so I’m trying to set up some systems and processes that will make it more manageable. I’m a very logical and efficient person, so I think that this is something that I can manage to bring to the office in a year.”

If Hearden could let the NDA community know one thing, it would be that she accepted  this position purely because of her love for the school. 

“The only reason I’m doing this is because I really really care about the students, and I think that when you know that a principal really cares about you, it may put a different perspective on the choices that you make along the way.”