STEPHENVILLE (Oct. 29, 2015)- In honor of October being Principal’s Month, The Flash Today is interviewing the principal of every campus in the Stephenville Independent School District. Today, meet Jennifer Salyards, principal of Chamberlin Elementary.
Jennifer Salyards came to Stephenville ISD last January as the new principal of Chamberlin Elementary. She has been married to her husband, Daryl Salyards, for almost 20 years. Her daughter, Karsen, attends Henderson Junior High as a seventh grader, and her son, Griffin, is a third grader at Hook Elementary.
“Our family loves to hang out together,” Salyards said. “We do a lot of camping. Mostly we focus our attention around our kids’ sports and activities. But, we just love hanging out together. My husband and I also like to scuba dive.”
Born and raised in Brownwood, Salyards went on to Texas Tech University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies (elementary education) and taught for several years. She then returned to Tech and received her principal’s certification and master’s degree in educational leadership.
Salyards began her teaching career at Lubbock ISD, where she taught sixth grade, fifth grade and third grade. Then, an opportunity arose for her to teach second grade at a professional development school under Tech, who would help support her in earning her master’s degree.
After earning her master’s degree, Salyards and her family moved to the Fort Worth. Salyards taught first grade at Birdville ISD before becoming an assistant principal there. She worked on that campus for five years before becoming the principal. Salyards was a principal at one other campus before accepting the position in Stephenville.
Originally, Salyards did not intend to become a principal. But, she was encouraged a mentor principal to work on her master’s and become one herself. Salyards said this role model saw strengths in her that she didn’t realize she had.
“She was just really good at what she did,” Salyards said. “She was able to engage teachers to empower them to make good educational choices in their classrooms. She really poured into the lives of her teachers in a big way. Whenever others recognize things in you and can speak truth into your life about the ways they can see you using your talents is really important. That’s what I hope to do for teachers throughout my career.”
Salyards says the best aspect of her job changes depending on what she is doing that day. She loves interacting with and encouraging parents because she feels she can relate well to them, being a parent herself. Salyards understands the struggles that come with parenting. She also loves spending time with the kids.
“Most days, it’s just being able to support teachers and provide the resources they need to do their job well,” Salyards said. “I consider that to be one of my most important tasks every day because if I take good care of my teachers, my teachers will take care of their classrooms.”
The most difficult aspect of Salyards’ job is that people often look for a quick fix, which is not always possible. She wants to be able to help and solve the problems, but sometimes that is a long process.
“I think, like any job, you have to focus on time management and set priorities and goals,” Salyards said. “I think as a principal it’s my job to cast the vision.”
Salyards loves the community of Stpehenville. She says there are parents who are supportive and “work really hard to thank our teachers and our office staff and me for the work we do.
“To feel valued for the work we do is a really huge benefit and that’s something this community is really great at,” Salyards said.
With the students at Chamberlin, Salyards feels like a rock star. She loves seeing them in places like H-E-B or WalMart SuperCenter and wave and talk to them.
“One of the greatest things about working with first and second graders is that we get new chances each day,” Salyards said. “We get to help shape them in not only in academic ways for their growth, but in their behavior and in their social and emotional growth.”
As an administrator, Salyards biggest goal is to implement ideas she believes will keep the campus moving forward. Salyards also wants to strive for 100 percent of students reading on or above their grade level when they leave campus.
“I recognize that we may not get 100 percent,” Salyards said. “But, that’s always going to be my goal, to make sure every kid is doing the very best they can and that we are giving our best every day.”