Introducing Natae Penn: Orchard Academy’s Head of School

My name is Natae Penn and I will be the school leader at Orchard Academy. I have over 20 years of experience in education. I have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in teaching from Wayne State University. I am a certified teacher and administrator. I have taught as well as tutored students in kindergarten through sixth grade. I was a lead teacher for grades K-2 and a math instructional coach for grades K-8. I have over 10 years of experience in curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Over the years, I have built and developed a successful curriculum and assessment system that has improved instruction, test scores and provided professional development to teachers. 

My entire educational career has been in the city of Detroit. I am passionate about working with students in urban areas. I believe that the students in the city of Detroit deserve a high-quality education with an abundance of resources and a facility that supports and provides a conducive learning environment. I believe all students need and want to learn, and I also believe in educating the “whole child” – family included. It is so important to address a child’s social-emotional needs as well as academic needs in order to produce a successful learning environment. I believe that supplying parents with the support they need to be successful partners in their child’s educational career is essential. 

Students need to be active participants in learning. The best way to engage students is to have a solid classroom management plan and well-planned lessons that are grounded in relevant, purposeful activities designed to enhance students’ knowledge and skills. Teachers should be strongly aligned with student-centered and student-directed learning that embraces exploration, discovery, experiential learning and targets students’ learning needs. A curriculum centered on social-emotional learning and character development will not only increase student achievement, but will also develop lifelong learners and problem solvers.

It has always been a dream of mine to lead a school that will provide young Detroiters with a top-notch, high-quality education that will influence the lives of people for years to come. My passion for education motivates me to achieve and strive for academic excellence. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Orchard Academy and to provide a unique and innovative option for students.