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Shaping The Future

Welcome to Nebraska’s NAESP PreK-3 Leadership Academy blog! We will be bringing you updates and perspectives from the advisors who are leading the 25 members of cohort 2 through the leadership academy coursework. This month we are featuring Jason Hippen, Director of Student Services for Nebraska City Public Schools.

 

Why did you want to be a part of the Leadership Academy?

I began my career as an elementary resource teacher for District 145 at Eagle Elementary School. I taught for nine years before earning my first administrative position as Principal/Student Services Director at Jefferson Elementary School in Fairbury. I served in that position for three years before taking on my current role. I will be entering my 10th year with Nebraska City Public Schools, and I want to pass on what I have learned to help someone else. I love being a part of a team and working together to come up with solutions. Through the academy, I can make connections with other educators — which will also help me in the future.

 

Which communities/school districts are represented in your group?

 

What big ideas resonated with the group most?

  • The importance of early childhood education
  • We have a great opportunity to work with young students and begin to shape their future
  • Communication and connectivity makes a difference

 

What are you most looking forward to gaining through the leadership academy?

I hope to learn about new ideas, strategies and programs that can impact student success, as well as having the opportunity to collaborate with other Nebraska educators.



Embracing Early Childhood

Welcome to Nebraska’s NAESP PreK-3 Leadership Academy blog! We will be bringing you updates and perspectives from the advisors who are leading the 25 members of cohort 2 through the leadership academy coursework. This month we are featuring Amy Kroll, Director of School Improvement and Special Education at Weeping Water Public Schools.

Why did you want to be a part of the leadership academy?

I was asked by Melody Hobson to consider being an advisor for the first cohort — I jumped at the chance. I enjoyed it so much and was thrilled to be asked again. I didn’t have a background in early childhood when I accepted the position of special education director in Auburn 9 years ago. Part of that position was managing the early childhood/PreK programs. I learned everything on the job and was able to successfully expand PreK, start a Sixpence and Childcare Partnership Grant. I give credit to the fantastic early childhood staff I was blessed with. Since I am somewhat new to early childhood, I thought that my perspective was one that others could understand. You don’t need years of early childhood experience to lead successful programs — embracing early childhood can happen regardless of educational experience and background.

 

Which communities/school districts are represented in your group?

 

In the past month, what topic has caused the most discussion among the group?

How to engage colleagues (other administrators), teachers, families, and community members in supporting early childhood initiatives in their communities and emphasizing that play-based learning is learning.

 

What big ideas resonated with the group most?

Highly trained staff and strong administrative leadership is essential in the development of high-quality PreK-3 programs.

 

What are you most looking forward to gaining through the leadership academy?

I love learning from others and having conversations about real-life situations we are all facing. It’s fun to problem solve with a team!  I also love reading about the latest research that supports our efforts in schools.