A New Year

August 2013

I have begun my second year as an elementary principal. Honestly last year was just blurry. So it should be different this year, right? Actually it is. As I prepared for the “first” staff meeting, the “first” parent meeting, the “first” day, I was more aware, more nervous. Last year I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I just jumped in. This year, however, I know what I don’t know and have different expectations, higher expectations.

Things are different. I didn’t really realize until our first staff meeting, I was nervous. I don’t recall being nervous last year; I think it was just survival mode. But this year as I addressed the staff I was anxious and more cognizant of who was in the room. I found myself noticing faces and expressions, strengths and experience. It sounds strange to say, but I was fully present, taking in the moment. But why did I have this “take your breath” away feeling? How is it different this year?

We have several new teachers, but we did last year too. We added new special education self-contained programs to our campus, but we had several self-contained classes last year. Many teachers and staff are the same. But this year, the teachers and staff who stayed made a conscious choice, a commitment to our students and to our school. So did I. I am invested, I believe in our staff, our students, our parents and our school. Not that I didn’t believe last year, it’s a different level of conviction this year. There is a different level of urgency, a shared purpose and responsibility.

Staff expectations have changed. Parent expectations have changed. Student expectations have changed. My expectations have changed. I believe together our school can achieve greatness. I am committed to shared leadership, building strong community and family partnerships with a focus on teaching and learning. I believe all students can learn and grow. I am committed to student learning and growth in a safe, supportive and collaborative environment. I will provide opportunities for all staff, parents, families and students to collectively share this responsibility.

But, what if I don’t live up to staff expectations, parent expectations, student expectations, and my expectations?


Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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