Registrar, Director of Transportation
From Where I Sit | Chris Hernadi
Lab’s Elementary kids love to play a name game with Registrar, Director of Transportation Chris Hernadi.
“They tell me their first name and I have to guess their last name. Nine times out of 10, I get it right. They’re always shocked. They try to stump me, but it’s hard to stump the school’s registrar when it comes to names,” he says. “Also, overseeing arrival and dismissal every day gives me ample opportunity to get to know our students and their families.”
That sense of community is one of the main reasons why Mr. Hernadi has worked at Lab for 15 years. “As someone who runs Transportation and often rides the various shuttles, I have been heartened to see the communities that build at each of the stops, not only among the kids but also their families. These groups of parents become fast friends and take it upon themselves to have each other’s backs when one of their kids is sick or late. They text each other, text or call me; it’s like we’re running the shuttle service together,” he says. “Every school claims a unique culture, and though that may be true, at Lab, our culture is special with a capital S. The level of expertise of our staff and the dedication of our whole community to our students’ success are unparalleled. It’s hard not to feel emotional sometimes when you see the lives of our students—and their whole families—transformed.” In summer 2020, Mr. Hernadi also took on the role of director of Student Billing, Records and Logistics.
Before Lab, Mr. Hernadi taught French and US History at two different private schools. When he and his wife moved to the DC area, he knew he wanted to continue to work in a school environment, but his interests meandered beyond the classroom. “I’m a guy who embraces change so it’s been satisfying working as the school’s registrar and seeing the processes around student records move from a primarily paper-based system to one far more streamlined operation because of technology.”
In 2014, when the then head of Transportation was leaving, Mr. Hernadi was more than happy to take over the post in addition to his job as registrar. He says his wife often has to “lovingly call” to him to hurry up when he stands transfixed at the airport in front of the big arrivals and departures screen.
If you’ve seen arrival or dismissal, you know that it is a daily dance of plans and processes, lists and walkie-talkies, cars, buses, and shuttles, and most importantly, collaboration. Greetings are shouted from rolled-down windows, giggles bubble from kids as they swing on backpacks, hello, goodbye, see you later; everyone seems to know everyone. “From where I sit, I am lucky to get to know the whole community from all corners of the school—before, at, and after operating hours.”