Archived Story

Progress 2011: Top Transitioner

Published 9:00am Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hero: Jean Jordan

Secret identity: principal at Southwest Middle School

Base of operations: Albert Lea

Jean Jordan, middle, stands with two students at Southwest Middle School. -- Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

Superpowers: Jordan describes herself as a creative person who genuinely likes kids and said she had lots of experience with them as well.

Kryptonite: She often puts too much on her own plate, which can make it hard to focus on tasks she needs to do.

Affiliations: Jordan has two sons and one granddaughter.

Origin: Jordan was recently approached by administration at Albert Lea School District about helping during the transition of the school realignment. The district was experiencing overcrowding in all the four elementary schools, which Jordan had been dealing with as principal of Lakeview Elementary School. The school board had decided that to make more space elementary schools would become kindergarten through fifth-grade schools, and Southwest would become a sixth- and seventh-grade middle school. Eighth-graders would move to Albert Lea High School.

With the transition of younger students at the high school, administration wanted former Southwest Principal Marsha Langseth to be at the high school to help those students. That left a vacancy at the middle school. Jordan orginally taught middle school before becoming an elementary principal and said she was excited to be back with middle schoolers.

“Kids are kids,” Jordan said. “It’s been very fun to meet them.”

Now she’s working on deciding which staff will stay at the middle school and which will move to the high school when the students transition in the fall. One of her goals is to create a community feeling in the school.To do that she plans on placing more emphasis on advisory periods. She said she also wants to deal with any problems as soon as they arise.

Jordan said it’s never easy to make such a big transition but that all the staff at Lakeview and Southwest have been very helpful to her.

“Everyone has just been great,” Jordan said.