Madeline Greenwood Named Department Chair


Photo by Dylan Vanek

Greenwood loves to foster student based learning. In the photo she is helping create discussion about Romeo and Juliet in her freshman class.

Dylan Vanek, Co-News Editor

With current literary and language arts (LLA) department chair Jeanne Jelnick stepping down at the end of this year it was time for the program to find a new lead. Madeline Greenwood, formerly known by her maiden last name of Mullens, was chosen to lead the LLA department for upcoming years.

Greenwood has been teaching at Portola High since its opening in 2016 and has come to be a standout educator within the LLA department. Prior to Portola, Greenwood taught at Rancho San Joaquin Middle School in Irvine for three years where she worked in multiple departments including social studies and English language development where she learned to work with many different types of students.

“I think very highly of Mrs. Greenwood,” Jelnick said. “She’s super bright and committed to learners, very balanced and calm in her style and very thoughtful. I think she’s going to be a great leader.”

Just by talking to Greenwood and Jelnick you can see that their leadership styles differ from each other. Jelnick said she believes it is always good to have a new perspective and voice in the leadership role of any department, and Greenwood’s humble yet assertive style could make the department successful in the future with her leadership during school and district meetings.

Jelnick, assistant Amy Paulsen and Greenwood all remarked that the students probably will not be able to notice any major changes in the department due to how the department works as a whole.

“I think when you see the other side of campus life, like understanding the master schedule as well as being part of leadership and having those conversations, it allows for all staff to have an opportunity to grow,” Paulsen said. “[Greenwood] has a lot of experience working with all kinds of students, and I think this is a great opportunity for her.”

By having the opportunity to work with students on all different types of levels, Greenwood will be able to bring a fresh perspective into the role. From her time working at Portola as an LLA teacher and as an English language development teacher, she will bring new ideas to the table as a department lead. For example, Greenwood wants to incorporate students more into the learning process in the future.

“I am excited to focus on student-driven learning. We have the ability to really make [classes] unique and focus on what our students want to get out of it,” Greenwood said. “I think I have been building towards taking a position like this. I am excited to see all the different approaches and work with my colleagues more closely.”