As the 2020-2021 school year comes to an end, the freshman class of 2025 looks forward to meeting their new dean. Upper school math teacher Krista Wilhelmsen, who has served as Dean for the Class of 2021 for the past four years, will be committing to four more years as dean for the new freshman class.
Mrs. Wilhelmsen describes being a dean as amazing and full of twists and turns, such as the impact of COVID-19 on learning at Pace. “But, the good, the bad and the ugly, I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said. Mrs. Wilhelmsen is known for her ability to not only connect with students but also to create a comfortable environment. “Mrs. Wilhelmsen is the best because she is so supportive of us and really cares about the things we have going on in our lives,” said senior Caroline Janki. Janki added that Mrs. Wilhelmsen is the kind of person that a student can go to about anything, a feeling shared by senior Charlie Janko. “Mrs. Wilhelmsen is like our school mom,” he said.
Her extreme enthusiasm for the Pace community and its ability to thrive contributes to her desire to help students navigate their way as their dean. “My belief in and love for the school consequently allow me to teach and dean effectively,” she said. “I work here and I teach here because I love this school.” Mrs. Wilhelmsen began her teaching career at Pace 21 years ago. In 2006, she received the Kessler Award for Teaching, and the Class of 2007 dedicated that year’s yearbook to her.
Mrs. Wilhelmsen holds bachelor’s degrees in sociology and math from Bowdoin College. She and her husband Jason live in Smyrna and have twin boys, Spencer and Eric, members of the Pace class of 2025. Mrs. Wilhelmsen, a twin herself, is the daughter of two private-school educators, and both her sisters have worked in independent schools. Her environment as a child, growing up surrounded by educators, further enhanced her ability to understand student life and how to overcome its obstacles.
She hopes to instill in her students an appreciation for the learning process, even when it is difficult, and encourages students to take responsibility for not only their own learning but the well being of their peers as well. With a farewell to her seniors, she recommends that they take advantage of their college environment. “Don’t make college all about the classroom,” she said. “Take advantage of everything. Meet and fall in love with the wonder that is the diversity of a group of incoming first-years that come from all over the world. Get involved in clubs. Remember, you are moving to a new community that is far bigger than Pace Academy.”
Mrs. Wilhelmsen also offered advice for the Class of 2025: “Don’t make ninth grade about college. Then repeat moving forward. If you do this, it will all work out for college.”