New assistant principal at Treasure Mountain ready for new challenges
When Amy Jenkins came to Parley’s Park Elementary School as a fifth grade teacher 10 years ago, she thought she had found her home, the place where she would spend the rest of her career.
But plans, of course, change.
Two years ago, the Park City School District asked Jenkins to leave her classroom and serve as an academic coach at Parley’s Park, where she would mentor young teachers. She said she would.
Last year, the district asked her to leave Parley’s Park and take on the same role at Trailside Elementary School. Again, she agreed.
"It’s funny," she said. "You just say ‘yes’ to a lot of things and you find yourself in a lot of roles. I swore to the parents (at Parley’s Park) that I would be buried in that classroom. I loved it so much. I loved Parley’s, I loved the community over there, which was my first taste of Park City. But then the coaching thing developed. I’m happy with how it’s turned out."
The 2015-2016 school year will bring another change Jenkins never saw coming. She has been hired as the assistant principal at Treasure Mountain Junior High, replacing Emily Sutherland, who recently accepted the principal position.
"It’s definitely a change of roles," she said. "My career took a different path when I started working more closely with teaching teachers through a couple of our endorsement programs here in the district. I was able to see sort of a broader view of the district and how the system worked. I liked that challenge."
Jenkins said being a teacher had been her dream since she was six years old. She is hopeful her new role will still afford the chance to teach, though in different ways than mentoring teachers or standing in front of a classroom of fifth graders.
"I realize you’re never done as an educator," she said. "You’re never done teaching. You’re always around people and you help influence them, so that part is always still going on. And I hope the teacher aspect of me continues to grow in me."
Jenkins is looking forward to her new post. In administration, she sees a chance to help navigate and guide the future of education in the district at a time when what is over the horizon is uncertain. Being a part of that is one of the biggest reasons she applied for the assistant principal opening.
"Education is changing so quickly right now, with our test scores not being where we want them to be in a lot of areas and kids maybe not feeling as inspired as they could be," she said. "It’s a chance to be a positive influence. I hope through relationships I’m able to build with the staff and establish again with kids that my optimism and positivity about these changes will shine through and everybody comes out on the other side like, ‘OK, we did this!’"
But Jenkins will also miss mentoring teachers as an academic coach. In that position, she formed bonds with teachers who were just starting to make their marks in education, which turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of her career.
"We mentor all of the teachers that are new to the district or to the career," she said. "That’s such a stressful but special time. I think I was fortunate when I started my career that I had a mentor that was extraordinary, so I’ve enjoyed those relationships and the challenges of them. Those teachers go through peaks and valleys, and you’re there side-by-side with them."
Her time as an academic coach also taught her that change can be difficult, particularly when she moved last year from Parley’s Park to Trailside. She’s hopeful that experience eases her transition to Treasure Mountain.
"That was hard," Jenkins said. "I had to learn a whole new culture and a whole new building. But I realized I wasn’t losing my family — I was expanding it. And I hope what I learned at Trailside about building new relationships and putting trust in them will carry over to Treasure Mountain, too."
And while her plan to stay at Parley’s Park for the rest of her career didn’t unfold as she had envisioned, she still plans to stay in Park City for the long-term. She said the community makes it the best place to work she can imagine.
"You get into schools here, and there are parents and parent organizations, and the way that we treat kids as whole individuals is special," she said. "We honor the fact that there’s more to the world than just school every day, but we try to find the best and blend it all together."
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