Park City Education Association loses a co-president
The Park City Education Association is now without one of its leaders.
It was announced at the Oct. 20 Park City Board of Education meeting that Jenny McKenna, co-president of the association, has taken a job as the principal of a secondary school in Idaho. After working with the association for several years, McKenna had taken the co-president position this school year.
McKenna, who was also an English instructor at the Park City Learning Center, could not be reached for comment. But Sam Thompson, the association’s other co-president, said she will be missed.
"It’s a blow to us," Thompson said. "We were bummed out, but we were excited for her because we know this is a career path that she has been seeking. The timing wasn’t perfect, but when in life is the timing perfect? We support her taking on this new endeavor. But from the standpoint of the PCEA, it’s a blow in that she had a vested interest in supporting the teachers and representing the teachers and had a lot of background on the various happenings in Park City. So we’re going to miss her experience, I think. She was really well-versed on what was going on in the Park City School District."
Thompson, the technology instructional coach at Treasure Mountain Junior High, said the education association’s bylaws dictate that a replacement for McKenna can be nominated, then voted on by the executive committee. He expects a vote to happen in the near future.
In the meantime, Thompson said the association can manage without a co-president. The co-presidents serve as the main contacts from the association to the Board of Education and superintendent, help coordinate support for teachers within the district and negotiate with the district for teacher salaries and a licensed professional agreement. But with a two-year salary contract signed in the spring, and licensed professional agreement negotiations not set to take place until next year, McKenna’s departure doesn’t leave the association scrambling.
"Jenny was involved in gathering information and feedback for (the LPA negotiations), but there’s nothing really super urgent that is in the forefront that we’re struggling with right now," Thompson said.
Despite that, McKenna is taking something valuable with her, Thompson said — her outlook on the association’s role.
"I would just say that Jenny is a fantastic educator who really valued the component of professional advancement of our careers as teachers," Thompson said. "She really saw the role of the association as a means to make teachers better teachers, and that was something I really respected about her. I think people often associate the association with just being there to get teachers higher salaries and things like that. And that wasn’t Jenny’s focus. She was focused on learning practices and teaching practices that would make our school district stronger for our students. I’m going to miss that."
Superintendent Ember Conley also said in an email to The Park Record that McKenna’s departure is a loss for the district.
"Jenny has been a thoughtful and dedicated educator," she said. "She has continued to develop her leadership skills and this opportunity is a great experience for her and a loss for Park City School District. She will be an awesome high school principal. She cares deeply for students and is passionate to help all students."
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Compensation is the largest issue left on the table after a contract governing most every other aspect of teachers’ employment was negotiated earlier in June.