It’s been just over a month since Jennie Knapp transitioned from teaching fifth grade to her role as Vice Principal at Bonny Slope Elementary. After working in the Beaverton School District since 2002, the move to administration provided a new and challenging opportunity. “This position has enabled me to share my passion and excitement about education with a broader audience, while supporting teachers in their roles.”
As previously mentioned, the reasons for the addition of a Vice Principal were twofold. There was a significant rise in student numbers that wasn’t accounted for at the start of the year and an October audit of certified positions revealed a staff deficiency. Thirty-eight direct reports to a principal supported the addition of a vice principal; Principal Janet Maza had 41 direct reports prior to Knapp’s appointment. The two work closely together, dividing responsibilities and collaborating often. “Janet and I try to connect every day,” she said.
Knapp runs the monthly safety committee meetings, handles student discipline, and oversees student activities including after school clubs (among other responsibilities). She notes, “Discipline in elementary schools is really about learning the right choices.”
The transition has come with its rewards and challenges. “It’s been wonderful getting to know so many more families and students. The challenge has come in learning people’s stories. I want to be thoughtful in knowing not only names, but the stories that go along with them.”
It was also very difficult to leave her fifth grade class. “We had built a positive community and it was exciting watching them grow and learn,” she said. “But I do feel we hired the right teacher.”
Knapp received her undergraduate degree from Syracuse University, where she met her husband, Mike, and her Masters in teaching from Lewis and Clark College. Together, they have a 15-month-old son named Andrew who Knapp describes as “so much fun!” While she maintains reading the learning are top priorities, she does make time to experience the outdoors and explore downtown restaurants. “We have a place on Mt. Hood where we enjoy skiing, golfing, and spending time as a family.”
When asked if she had anything to add, Knapp said, “I would love for people to introduce themselves to me. I love meeting new families and getting to know them.”
Knapp’s placement is until July and she can re-apply if the position officially opens.