Teachers and parents rose to their feet and broke into cheers and applause Monday as they welcomed Warren Elementary School’s new principal.
Jennifer Jenkins, who has served as the school’s assistant principal for three years, was selected by Warren Elementary’s site-based decision-making council with a unanimous vote. Jenkins replaces Josh Porter, who took a job as an assistant principal at Bowling Green High School.
Asked why she wanted to take the job, Jenkins said she was inspired to lead a diverse school that often teaches students who speak no English to read and write.
“Just seeing that growth in so many of our students, I just wanted to be a part of that,” she told the Daily News.
Jenkins, who graduated from Warren Central High School just down the road from Warren Elementary, is from Bowling Green and sees the school district as her home.
Jenkins is a graduate of Western Kentucky University. She holds bachelor’s degrees in elementary and music education and a master’s degree in education, she said. She is a national board certified teacher.
After starting her teaching career in Tennessee, Jenkins returned to Bowling Green to become one of the first teachers hired to open Lost River Elementary, she said.
Her first administrative position was in Logan County, where she worked as a curriculum coordinator. Before becoming assistant principal at Warren Elementary, she joined the district as an intervention specialist, supporting teachers as they worked to improve student achievement outcomes.
Asked about her vision for Warren Elementary, Jenkins summed it up in four words: “To be the best.”
One of the school’s biggest challenges, she said, is working with families to make sure they fully grasp the role of elementary education.
“That it is a steppingstone to making sure their children are successful in the future,” she said. “We are the foundation for that success.”
Lauren Daniels, a kindergarten teacher at Warren Elementary who serves on the school’s council, said Jenkins stood out because of her connection with staff.
“She just has a passion for our kids and she really just wants to see us be the best that we can be,” Daniels said, adding “to me she was just the easy choice.”
Jenkins sought to strike a collaborative tone as she stepped into the role of principal.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I know the teachers in this building and the staff in this building are ready to do it,” she said.