Kelsey Holtzinger: Helping students in math and beyond


Photo courtesy of Kelsey Holtzinger

Kelsey Holtzinger on one of her many travels to Copenhagen, Denmark.

Michelle Moshkovoy, Head Photographer

This school year, the Burlingame math department added Kelsey Holtzinger to their team. Or as most of her students call her, “Ms. Zinger” or simply, “Zinger.”  

Before arriving at Burlingame, Holtzinger helped open a small, special needs independent school in San Francisco. 

Missing the public education system, Holtzinger decided to switch jobs. She opted for a less traditional route with the American Military Teaching Academy in Europe, where she planned to teach abroad and experience another culture for a year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans for her. 

“So I actually got into Belgium and Italy, and due to COVID, all of our visas got suspended,” Holtzinger said. “I immediately started job hunting and BHS had a position open.” 

Despite the abrupt circumstances that led Holtzinger to Burlingame, Holtzinger is excited to be at the school and loves her students.

“The students at BHS have just been super sweet, super loving, super supportive. My fourth week into school my heart was broken and I had to put my dog [of 15 years down],” Holtzinger said. “I can’t even tell you how adorable and loving the students were — just like sending me emails, sending me messages.”

Holtzinger wants to support her students in the same way that they have helped her so far this year.  

“A goal that I set myself for every single year is that for any kid who comes into my classroom and they’re like, ‘I hate math or like I’m not good at it,’ my goal by the end of the year is that every one of those kids in my classroom is like, ‘you know what, math is not that bad.’ Or better yet, they leave math and they’re like, ‘Hell yes, I get this,’” Holtzinger said. 

Holtzinger not only wants to be a good math teacher, but someone that her students can lean on outside of the classroom.

“It’d be a great goal of mine if I could walk away from all of my classes and my students feeling like they’ve got me for the rest of their lives if they want to. They can always reach out to me, they always have [me] in their corner,” Holtzinger said.

She acknowledges accomplishing some of her goals will be harder with the difficulties of everything being virtual. However, she is looking forward to teaching math and getting to know her students. 

Outside of school, Holtzinger loves cooking, going for long walks and is an avid traveler. 

“I’ll book the cheapest ticket I can find. I don’t care where it takes me, whether it’s Iceland or Australia or the middle of Southeast Asia,” Holtzinger said. “I just love being thrown into someplace, you know, brand new and like you figure it out.”