Waters Today: You've been at Waters for 2 months and change—congrats! What do you love most about being a principal?
Mr. Rutkowski: I love getting to go around the school to forge new relationships. There are so many names to learn and people to get to know and that is very exciting.
If you had a robot assigned to help you accomplish one task every day at school, what would you program it to do?
A COVID eradication robot would be very helpful.
We’ll get CPS right on that! Are you from Chicago?
I am not. I was born in New Mexico and have lived in 8 states along the way. Usually when people ask where I'm from my answer is Northern California because that’s where I spent the largest chunk of time as a kid.
Interesting! So how was your elementary school experience different from that of our Waters' kiddos?
My elementary school didn’t have any stairs at all. Every classroom was on the ground floor.
Besides super toned quads, what is the one thing you hope all students take away with them when they leave Waters?
A passion to discover themselves and the resilience to stay on that path of discovery. In other words, when they encounter adversity, or actively seek out a challenge, my hope is they carry the belief that they can figure out the way forward no matter what.
Let's switch gears: When you're not busy principaling, how do you like to spend your time?
My Kindle gets a lot of use. I read a variety of things, during this time of year I seem to be more into thrillers and mysteries.
Do you have any pets?
Not currently, but when I was little we had a golden retriever named Denali (after the tallest mountain in North America)
That's a great name. What's one thing that made you laugh recently?
One of the best parts about working in an elementary school is that you get a chance to laugh multiple times, every day. One specific instance last week was seeing Frida, Ms V’s turtle, dressed up.
What about something that made you really, really mad?
Road closures due to the water main work on Western Ave. I had to take a deep breath and remember that the improvements are necessary.
Ha! You have a few hundred people nodding in agreement with you right now. Ok, if you won a month-long, all-expenses-paid trip to any destination in the world, where would you go?
Costa Rica, because you can visit two different oceans in the same day and there are so many different adventures you can go on with beaches, forests, even volcanos.
Plus, no traffic! Ok, we can’t wrap this interview up without asking: Has our friendly Waters ghost paid you a visit yet?
Indeed the ghost has paid me a visit. We had a wonderful conversation. It’s important that every member of the Waters community feels connected, the supernatural are no exception.
Thank you Mr. Rutkowski—we’re so glad you’re here!