Local News

Jensen to stay as elementary principal

The School Board discussed personnel changes at its regular meeting Monday, March 17.

Deidre Jensen came to Wrangell from Thorne Bay. She’s been serving as the interim elementary principal since she was appointed on January 20th.

The school board unanimously approved offering her a contract for elementary principal for the 2014-2015 school year.

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School superintendent Rich Rhodes voiced his support for the Jensen before the vote.

“I highly encourage the board to hire her for next year,” said Rhodes.

Also at the meeting, Jensen and several student council members presented an initiative they’ve adopted at the elementary school.

It’s called Character Counts. Jensen describes it in her written report as ethics training that focuses on six pillars of character.

They are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

She says they are important characteristics for students to learn.

“I also saw some things that we needed to do school-wide to work together and build that community. We’re also doing community Monday morning,” says Jensen.

It’s a weekly assembly in which teachers, students, parents and others come together to recognize student accomplishments and talk about character-building.

“…And having us work together, helping each other out, helping out teachers out, our teachers helping us, the kids helping each other,” says Jensen.

Jensen says students need to learn these behaviors from adults. Then they can put them to practice in the classroom and at home.

“One of the questions that I was asked when I was interviewed is, how do you see behavior in kids? And I see it as kids need to be taught what those behaviors are, just like they need to be taught any other skill in school,” says Jensen.

Jensen will continue to serve as elementary principal. The board unanimously approved the hire of Colter Barnes as secondary principal.

Teacher Michelle Galla was on the hiring committee. She says she thinks he will make a good addition to school staff.

“I just want to say I was so incredibly impressed. I really was. Really. Just a phenomenal set of things that he’s done with kids,” says Galla.

Barnes currently serves as principal of the Kokhanok School, near Lake Iliamna and the Kenai Peninsula.

In other personnel business, Erik Gile is the new assistant baseball coach and Katie Ludwigsen the new middle school assistant volleyball coach.

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