NEW JOURNEY: Madison Junior High School English teacher Tracy Ahlbrand will start her new job as the principal of Lydia Middleton Elementary School at the end of this school year. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
NEW JOURNEY: Madison Junior High School English teacher Tracy Ahlbrand will start her new job as the principal of Lydia Middleton Elementary School at the end of this school year. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Last week, Madison Consolidated Schools announced Tracy Ahlbrand as the new principal of Lydia Middleton Elementary School. In the announcement, Superintendent Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger said Ahlbrand "best fits the needs of Lydia Middleton Elementary School."

Ahlbrand has taught for 12 years, but before that, she was an attorney at the former Jenner, Auxier & Pattison. She hopes her experience at the law firm will transfer over to being a school administrator.

"It just gives you that common sense and that background knowledge of school law that comes in very handy," she said.

Since making the switch, Ahlbrand has taught English and social studies at the junior high school level. She has a license to teach in elementary schools, with an endorsement to teach middle school English.

She's currently teaching eighth-graders at Madison Consolidated Junior High School.

Ahlbrand said she loves teaching at the junior high school level.

"Anyone who's ever taught middle school knows the kids are great. It's a joy to come here every day. I've always loved it. Middle school kids are just a lot of fun. This is just a great place to work," she said. "I know I'm going to miss my middle school kids."

Ahlbrand said while it's hard to leave the classroom behind, she's been planning the move to administration since she earned her masters degree in education.

"I thought it was time to shift gears again," she said.

That shift has her excited for the new school year to arrive.

"I'm just excited to be coming in to work with such an experienced staff. I know that they work very well together. I think any parent with a child down there will agree. There's such a family atmosphere. There's such a good feel when you walk into the school building," she said.

"I feel very lucky to be walking in with that staff."

Ahlbrand said the transition will be a learning experience, and she hopes to be able to talk to current interim principal, Shelli Reetz.

Reetz is the former elementary director of learning for Madison Consolidated Schools, and was named the interim principal at Lydia Middleton in October.

"I'll be learning from (the staff)," she said. "I hope to work with Shelli Reetz before she has to leave, to transition into that position."