After serving as an assistant principal for four years at Howard L. Goff Middle School, Jill Barker became the new principal on July 1. Ms. Barker is a former teacher in the district and also has administrative experience at the elementary and high school levels from when she worked at Shenendehowa.
As an assistant principal, Ms. Barker was responsible for 6th grade. She was the lead evaluator for APPR, led the Instructional Support Team, created and implemented Academic Intervention Services and served on a number of committees.
We sat down with Ms. Barker last week to discuss her new role and responsibilities.
Q: How is the job going so far?
A: Things are going really well. I am busy planning for the new school year. I am working closely with Mr. Neumann and Ms. Hoffman on scheduling, new initiatives for the school year and working with our maintenance department to get our building ready for September.
Q: Why did you want this job?
A: I have thoroughly enjoyed my job as assistant principal over the last four years at Goff Middle School. I have learned a great deal about what it takes to run a successful school. I am excited and I feel well qualified to take on the challenges that come with being the principal of a middle school.
At Goff Middle School we have a tremendous staff, terrific students and a very supportive community and Board of Education. I want to continue to see through the initiatives that we’ve started over the last four years. As principal, I can take that leadership role to move those initiatives forward, but also look to implement some new programs that I feel could benefit our students.
Q: What would some of those new programs be?
A: Continue to build on our Character Education program. Bring more guest speakers in to talk about topics such as empathy, acceptance and social media and the issues that can arise from that. We really want to create an environment of kindness and acceptance here.
Q: How has your experience working in education, and as assistant principal in Goff, prepared you for this position?
A: As a special education administrator at Shenendehowa for four years, that allowed me to work with families very closely, so I can bring that experience to this position. As a teacher, both at Columbia and Goff, I was able to really see the progression of students as they go from middle school to high school. And I was also an administrator at the elementary school level so I have that K-12 perspective.
Between my teaching and administrative experience, I have a lot of tools and a well-rounded experience that I can bring to this job.
Q: What will your duties be as principal?
A: I will oversee the functionality of the building, making sure we continue to develop curriculum, that we’re aligned to Next Generation Standards, we’re teaching 21st century skills, collaborating with teachers and staff and preparing our students for high school.
Q: What made this a good fit for you?
A: Being an assistant principal here for four years, I’ve established good relationships with the teachers and staff. I also understand the community and developed some really positive relationships with families. So I feel very comfortable here and I am eager to take on this larger role at Goff Middle School.
Q: What are you most looking forward to?
A: Continuing the good work that we’ve already done. I work with a really great team here. We have fantastic teachers and support staff. Everybody that’s at Goff Middle School cares about kids and is working hard to provide an environment that is safe and positive for our students. I’m also looking forward to building closer relationships with some staff who I haven’t had the opportunity to work with as assistant principal.
Q: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
A: I’m honored and privileged to take on this new role. I am really appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of this community and to be able to work closely with our students, staff and families to make sure our students have the best possible experience.