Carlmont welcomes Jennifer Lang as new instructional vice principal


Robin Linares

Jennifer Lang uses interior design to make her office more inviting, a method she started during her days as a teacher to keep students engaged. “I think that if you provide a really cool environment for students who may not like school, then they’re more apt to come to a classroom and not skip your class,” Lang said.

Jennifer Lang took on the position of instructional vice principal (IVP) following Gay Buckland-Murray‘s promotion to principal.

Lang brings 32 years of teaching experience to Carlmont. She has worked in an administrative role for a middle college program and has 14 years of experience with school accreditation, making her the perfect candidate for the position. Moreover, she feels the position is perfect for her.

“Because of my background in curriculum design, I like to learn how standards influence students’ learning. I also like to understand how students’ brains acquire knowledge, and why people dislike certain subjects,” Lang said. “It’s really intriguing to me if I can get a student who doesn’t like a certain topic to change their perception of it.”

In addition to her extensive qualifications, Lang stands out through her outgoing personality.

“I really appreciate how Ms. Lang has been able to work one-on-one with teachers who have various concerns and issues on campus,” Buckland-Murray said. “I think she has done a great job making those connections with our teaching staff.”

Lang explained how she maintains these good relationships with teachers.

“I think that helping students is supporting the teachers, so the teachers feel that they have somebody supporting them and helping them,” Lang said. 

Sara Shayesteh, a biology teacher at Carlmont, appreciates Lang’s efforts to connect with the school community.

“I think our new IVP is really great because she is very approachable,” Shayesteh said. “I think it’s really important to have a sense of community and feel like you’re working in a collaborative environment.” 

Lang’s inclination to interact with the Carlmont community aligns with the desires of the student population. Katie Barton, a senior, expressed what she wants in an administrator.

“I think it’s important for someone in the administration to care about the students and about making Carlmont a good learning environment,” Barton said.

I think one of the things that makes an effective team and an effective school leader is the willingness to be fun,”

— Gay Buckland-Murray

One of the ways Lang works to connect with students is by fostering a welcoming environment. Her office contains many chairs, throw pillows, and inspirational signs.

“I know that some students will come in here and see me as a person of authority, so if they see cool things in here, they can think, ‘Well, maybe she’s not so bad. Maybe she’s a little different. Maybe it’s not going to be horrible to have a conversation with her,’” Lang said.

Additionally, Lang always tries to reach students through humor.

“I think it’s really important that students don’t just see you as a person of authority that’s only getting them in trouble,” Lang said. “We as administrators sometimes get so caught up in trying to get everything done the right way that sometimes we need to be reminded to sit outside, laugh, and appreciate the student feeling and sentiment walking on campus during the day.”

While Lang’s extensive background in education and new ideas make her qualified for IVP, Buckland-Murray believes it is her sense of humor that makes her a perfect fit for Carlmont.

“I think one of the things that makes an effective team and an effective school leader is the willingness to be fun and to smile and laugh because we want school to be a place that people enjoy coming to,” Buckland-Murray said.