Good goes around with the new GRT

Introducing our new Gifted Resource Teacher Mrs. Kelly Lepkowski


Irene Straw, Staff Writer

In August of 2022, we welcomed a new face as our Gifted Resource Teacher. Mrs. Kelly Lepkowski took on the responsibility of coordinating with staff and students to enhance the Gifted Resource Program (among other responsibilities). With a warm personality and willingness to help anyone, Lepkowski strives to make Salem a better place to learn.

“I work with staff and students to offer & deliver special practices, procedures, strategies, and theories designed to meet the needs of children who have been identified as gifted/talented learners,” said Lepkowski.

Gifted Resource Teacher. Mrs. Kelly Lepkowski. (Photo by: I. Straw)

In managing the Gifted Program, Lepkowski works all around the building in various capacities. She organizes the E.E. Brickell Scholarship program, manages the application process for the Summer Regional Governor’s School Program, teaches the Think Tank course (an asynchronous, independent semester course for Gifted Students), co-teaches with and advises fellow teachers to help them improve student lessons for gifted learners, and more.

“I design lessons for and give support to schoolwide programs, including remediation, ACP days, and testing; maintain a Gifted Website for our school; and communicate (via email, website, and phone) with parents and students about gifted program updates, opportunities, and events,” said Lepkowski.

Lepkowksi typically works in her office, but she traverses the school when she collaborates with other teachers to support classes. For example, she is currently helping AP Government teacher Jennifer Mechling and her classes on a project where the students are creating prototypes for monuments to memorialize various Supreme Court decisions.

“Mrs. Lepkowski is so fun to work with!” said Mechling. “She’s so energetic and willing to work on any project, even if it’s not her area of expertise. She’s happy to help and learn new things.” 

Amazingly, it doesn’t end there. Lepkowski also manages the Governor’s School for the Arts program, acting as an in-house liaison for Salem students, as well as their parents and teachers.

“I help deliver information from Governor’s school to the students, parents, and teachers; organize transportation; monitor and enter Governor School grades; and help Governor’s school students, their parents, and teachers with anything they may need,” said Lepkowski.

By extension, she is also responsible for the Summer Residential Governor’s School opportunity, a month-long free summer program for all Virginian high schoolers. The application process, which she organizes for interested students, is extensive, and she is supportive throughout its entire duration.  

“We currently have nine SunDevils who have made it to the final selection round for the Summer Regional Governor’s School!” said Lepkowski. “We should know who has been accepted by the end of April!”

Outside of school, Lepkowski is an avid book reader, TV binge-watcher, and moviegoer. She also creates intriguing little pieces of art using rocks and sells them in her side business called RockN’Crafts by Kelly. Going to craft shows/markets to sell her works, she gets to travel all over Hampton Roads on the weekends.

“I use small rocks to make pictures, magnets, and ornaments,” said Lepkowski. “They are cute and eco-friendly as I am primarily using rocks, wood, shells & recycled glass to make them!”

Rock art by Mrs. Kelly Lepkowski. (Photo submitted by K. Lepkowski)

Lepkowski describes herself as a fun, energetic people-person and team player who wants to get to know everyone and help everyone. Just reach out to her at [email protected] or visit her in 104C; she will be willing to help you with whatever you may need.