After tenures on Capitol Hill, the Justice Department and the State Department, Kristen Fennel arrived at CHS as one of two special education chairs.
Where are you from?
I grew up here and in Minnesota. I lived here until about the end of seventh grade and then I was in Minnesota from eighth to 12th grade, and then I moved back here because of my dad’s job. He worked for the House of Representatives and was a staffer.
Where did you go to college? Did you start teaching right after graduation?
I went to Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and I majored in English and political science. I absolutely rejected the idea of teaching, so I went to law school. I worked on Capitol Hill, the Justice Department and the State Department. I had kids and stayed home with them for a while, and realized that actually, I think I would like to teach.
What did you do in the Department of Justice?
I worked on the background vetting of judicial nominees. For the State Department, I worked in a really small unit that ran police and legal system assistance programs in countries that had just finished being in a conflict like a civil war.
Why did you choose to work in special education?
When I taught in preschool, I found I was mostly interested in the kids who weren’t super typical. I was really interested in the language learners and the kids who were maybe a little more quirky and had something going on.
Why did you choose to work at CHS?
Chantilly has an amazing reputation in the county as a great family of teachers and students. I have really felt that even though I’ve only been here for three weeks, and it feels really good.