Jennifer Nauman, a Milford High School graduate and former teacher and reading specialists at Lulu M. Ross Elementary School, was recently recognized for her leadership as a principal at Cape Henlopen’s Shields Elementary when she was presented the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership. Nauman, only one of seven principals in the nation to be presented the award, is Delaware’s first principal to receive this recognition. The award, presented at the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C. recognizes school leaders for their guidance of both students and staff.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in education?
A: I feel like I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher. My kindergarten teacher, Nancy Hawpe, and my first grade teacher, Donna Hutchins, really started my school experience in such a positive way, I couldn't imagine not being in education.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job as a principal and why?
A: The most challenging aspect of my job is constantly trying to be better and work to be a model or leader in all aspects of instruction: technology, curriculum, pedagogy. I am a life-long learner and tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to know what is best for all students at all times. My goal is to meet the needs of every child, [and] I couldn't come close to reaching that goal without such a fantastic staff!
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job as a principal and why?
A: Establishing wonderful relationships is the most rewarding aspect of my job. It’s the relationships with students, the child who hugs me each day she gets out of the car, or the students who I taught that still keep in touch; the relationships with teachers and staff members that are collaborative and help both parties become better at what we do; and relationships with parents and the community that are supportive and necessary for the students to be successful. I cherish every relationship that has been established! I feel it is important to know every student by name. We currently have 730 students and I know about 95 percent of their names.
Q: What is one of the most memorable moments of your career so far?
A: My most memorable moment happened at the very beginning of the first year I was an assistant principal when a bus driver asked me to translate to this little girl about sitting down on the bus. I bent down to her level and in my best broken spanish I said, "por favor, siéntese en el autobus." She was looking at me like I was crazy so I repeated myself, and just then another student tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Mrs. Nauman, she is from Russia!"