It may not look like a school, [see video] but it is. It’s the teacher’s lounge at Berthold Elementary School.
The oasis is what teachers came back to after spring break, all thanks to Principal Melissa Lahti.
Lahti says what can, at times, be a high-stress environment deserves some space to relax.
She said, “I know how hard the teachers work and I really wanted to show them how much I value and appreciate them.”
She’s been in education for 30 years, spending 22 of those years in Berthold and most of them as principal.
But Lahti has been the leader of many classrooms over the years.
“I think that when the teachers come to me or we’re talking about issues, I think that I can relate because I have an understanding of what they go through,” she said. “I have a background, I have some experience with it and I think that helps me to be able to help them.”
Although in administration, she’s still very much involved with her 100 students.
“I like to be around and out and about with the kids,” Lahti explained. “It’s important to me that I still stay in touch with them.”
After learning from home during the height of the pandemic, she surveyed students about what they missed and the majority said library time.
Berthold School doesn’t have a librarian so Lahti has been filling in.
She’s also on recess duty and is sure to have lunch with students who need a little extra time.
“Absolutely the best thing about this job is the kids,” she said.
It seems the students love her, too.
Third-grader Mollie Filipeck said, “She is also the best principal because she made us bomber buddies.”
First-grader Aleena Deaver explained, “So like, a high schooler, she picks one of them and then we get to do fun activities with them.”
“I think this is her last year,” third-grader Garrett Vetter said. “So I will be pretty sad when she leaves.”
She says all teachers are people you should know, but Melissa Lahti is also Someone You Should Know.
While Lahti says she will miss the many people at Berthold School, she’ll be sure to stick around after retirement.