Kaitlin Sommer Fleischmann ’11 first came to Shenandoah University to meet with former Shenandoah Field Hockey Coach Lois Bowers, but from the moment she stepped onto campus, she knew Shenandoah was the place she was meant to be.
Next to meeting her husband, Andrew Fleischmann ’12, at Shenandoah, Fleischmann’s fondest memories come from her time playing field hockey and lacrosse.
Sprint Field at Shentel Stadium literally holds my blood, sweat and tears, and I will never lose or forget the bonds I made with my teammates and coaches when I wore number eight as a Hornet.”
Fleischmann is a high school dean of special education for Loudoun County Public Schools. She works with students, families and staff to ensure a free and appropriate public education for all students in accordance with all state and federal guidelines. She is also a varsity field hockey coach at Loudoun County High School, and coaches club field hockey for Metro Hockey Club.
With mentorship, guidance, love and support from Coach Bowers, Fleischmann was able to start the field hockey program at Loudoun County High School in 2016. That year, she was also named Dulles District Coach of the Year.
The most rewarding experiences throughout Fleischmann’s career as a teacher and coach are helping students and student-athletes to surpass personal goals and develop growth mindsets.
I will never forget, during my first year of teaching, when I told a student I was proud of him for the hard work he had put in to writing an essay. He looked at me and said, ‘Nobody has ever said they’re proud of me.’ Small moments when young people feel success are truly the most rewarding.”
The political science faculty, particularly Henkel Family Endowed Chair in International Affairs and Professor of Political Science Eric Leonard, Ph.D. and Professor Emeritus William Shendow, Ph.D. (Dr. Shendow passed away in 2018), as well as Professor of Business Law John Winn, J.D., prepared Fleischmann for her career field by encouraging her to respectfully challenge the status quo, ask meaningful questions, become a better writer and think deeply about how each person and every idea can impact the world. She also continues to model her coaching practices after Coach Bowers and current Shenandoah Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Lindsey Lutz, and continually utilizes the lessons she learned from coaching classes with Shenandoah Baseball Head Coach Kevin Anderson.
I will forever be grateful to my coaches Lois Bowers and Lindsey Lutz for their guidance and leadership, and for helping me become a better, more impactful teacher and coach.”
Fleischmann’s advice to students is:
Always have a student-centered approach, be a lifelong learner and admit when you’re wrong or unsure. Additionally, find mentors who inspire you to be a better teacher and/or coach, and try to learn everything you can from them.”