Meet the principal: Jennifer Waldron of Anasazi Elementary

Name: Ms. Jennifer Waldron

School: Anasazi Elementary School (PreK-5th)

Jennifer Waldron (Submitted photo)

Town/Neighborhood: Anasazi Elementary is a public neighborhood school in north Scottsdale nestled in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains. Anasazi is a Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade school in the Scottsdale Unified School District.

The school is situated on fifteen picturesque acres abutting the south trailhead of the McDowell Mountain Park Preserve overlooking the Valley.

What I’m excited about and why: I am excited to share that Anasazi is applying to become a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme. The PYP transdisciplinary framework focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both at school and beyond.

Informed by research into how students learn, how educators teach, and the principles and practice of effective assessment, the program places a powerful emphasis on inquiry-based learning. We are the feeder school into Mountainside Middle School and Desert Mountain High School, both implementing IB. We are excited for our journey in becoming a part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum within Scottsdale Unified School District.

What I like most about being an educator here: It is rewarding to watch students grow and know that the work done and relationships fostered directly impact our community. It is fulfilling to expose children to the joys of learning.

Changes I’d like to see in public education: I would love for all students to have equal access to the resources needed to grow academically and socially.

Favorite community cause and why: March of Dimes Arizona/ March for Babies is one that is near and dear to my heart.

When and why I moved here: I moved here in 2004 to become a classroom teacher. It was a great way to escape the cold weather of the Midwest and start a career doing what I love.

Where I lived before and why I left: I come from a town in Indiana just 30 miles from Chicago.

My family: I am the proud mother of a 9 year old daughter who is currently attending school in the Scottsdale Unified School District.

What I like most about what I do: It is a privilege to work with children and those dedicated to education and serving students daily.

Previous occupations and why I left: I have wanted to be an educator since the age of 5. The goal was set and all of these years later — I am still doing what I love.

My interests and hobbies: I love spending time with my daughter, camping, collecting vinyl records, attending concerts and cheering on the Chicago Cubs, Bears and Blackhawks.

The best and/or worst time in my life: My daughter was born very prematurely. Her birth was the best day in my life, but the following 60 days were the hardest as she spent them in the NICU — Newborn Intensive Care Unit. I always tell her that she was really excited to meet me.

The trait(s) I admire in others: I admire people who have a growth mindset and follow The Golden Rule.

People who inspired me (and how): I find that I am inspired daily by those who are doing what they love and making a difference in the lives of children.

My guiding philosophy: Never stop learning!

My advice to today’s youth: Life can be tough, but you’re tougher. Set goals and never give up. The possibilities for you are endless.

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