Champions of Children: Have You Thanked a Principal Today?

Colorful fall leaves, football season and Halloween festivities are a few fun reasons to celebrate the month of October. Here’s another: October is also National Principals Month.

It’s been said that behind every successful school is a great principal, and that’s certainly the case in Canyons District. 

Alta View Elementary Principal Scott Jameson, who was named the 2022 Utah Elementary School Principal of the Year by the Utah Association of Elementary School Principals, said he has the best job in the world because of the people he works with on a daily basis.

“It’s important to build a relationship with every person in the building so they feel like they are an important part of the work,” Jameson said.

And gone are the days of the notoriously dreaded principal’s office. Nowadays, principals work diligently to support the community, inspire teachers, and implement positive behavior interventions for struggling students. They are at extracurricular activities, they’re brainstorming in the middle of the night, and they’re up bright and early the following morning to greet students with a smile. Getting called to the principal’s office is often a good thing.

Peruvian Park Principal Leslie Jewkes, who, along with Glacier Hills Principal Julie Winfree and Altara Principal Nicole Svee Magann, earned a 2022 Apex Award for School Administrator of the Year, enjoyed being in the classroom setting to help students earlier in her career. Now she loves being an administrator because it allows her to continue helping students while also mentoring their teachers for an even bigger ripple effect.

 

“Working with the kids, obviously, is the reason we’re in it,” Jewkes said. “As a teacher and as an administrator being able to see them grow and make progress, come to school and be excited, those are the things that give me rewards.”

Winfree agrees that her “why” is making a difference for students and figuring out how to meet their individual needs. It takes a team to make that possible, and building a team and school climate where everyone feels at home is another highlight of the job for Winfree.

Please join us in thanking our school leaders for being guiding lights in trying times. They lead by example. They innovate, secure resources for schools, and build rapport and trust with parents and the community. But mostly, they are fierce champions of children.

“I think public education is probably the greatest experiment that the United States has ever had,” Magann says. “The idea that every kid has a shot to make it as far as they can.”

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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