Married to the Job

Married to the Job

Husband-and-wife principals J and Leslie Kapuchuck collaborate at the dinner table

Joseph (“J”) and Leslie Kapuchuck have more in common than most married couples—they have the same job. Both principals of elementary schools in the Rockingham County (Virginia) Public Schools, they often function as their own professional learning network.

While they manage different buildings, the Kapuchucks are a leadership team of life partners who collaborate over the dinner table and “push one another to do amazing things” for their schools and district, J says. Principal recently asked them about their teamwork.

What do you like to do in the off hours?

J: Our two children are very involved in sports and extracurricular activities. So most days during our off hours, we are supporting and cheering them on.

Leslie: We spend most of our time on the softball field, baseball field, football field, and basketball court, but the most important thing is that our family is together.

What is the best “leadership moment” you’ve had since becoming a principal?

J: Some of the best moments have occurred when ideas come to fruition and benefit not only my school, but schools and students everywhere. Thanks to social media and being a part of a large PLN, you can have a positive impact on schools and students all over the world.

Leslie: Until this school year, we didn’t have a PLC structure. We worked [with teachers] as a team to develop a structure, and teachers began leading professional learning, focusing on topics they were passionate about. Teachers helping build the capacity of fellow teachers is huge.

What are the goals for your school that drive how you approach the job?

J: I want everyone who enters our building to have a positive experience, feel appreciated, and have a sense of belonging. I want students to know they are surrounded by adults who love and believe in them, and will do anything to help them be successful academically and emotionally.

Leslie: My No. 1 goal is for our school to be a positive place where every single person feels welcome, loved, seen, and heard, whether it is a student, parent, staff member, or community member. In order for learning to take place, everyone has to feel safe to take risks.

What are the goals for your school that drive how you approach the job?

J: I want everyone who enters our building to have a positive experience, feel appreciated, and have a sense of belonging. I want students to know they are surrounded by adults who love and believe in them, and will do anything to help them be successful academically and emotionally.

Leslie: My No. 1 goal is for our school to be a positive place where every single person feels welcome, loved, seen, and heard, whether it is a student, parent, staff member, or community member. In order for learning to take place, everyone has to feel safe to take risks.

How does your both being principals help you manage your schools?

J: Each night, we have our own PLN meeting at the dinner table or on the back porch. We navigate the challenges we face daily at our schools and also highlight the many positives we experience each day. We are great at sharing resources and ideas that benefit our students and staff, and are always searching for new and exciting ways to create a positive school culture.

Leslie: We talk through things, brainstorm, and share different ways of approaching issues. This year, we led a division-mandated learning initiative in our schools, and we really had our own principal professional learning community within the walls of our home. We learned best practices for
literacy instruction and set the direction for cultivating teacher capacity.

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