Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

November 29, 2010

RISING STAR: Teachers, students like Park City Ele. principal’s leadership

By GINA KINSLOW
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — Anthony Janes told one of his eighth-grade teachers that he would never become a teacher because they didn’t make enough money.

Little did he know back then that he would become inspired to work with children one day, and not only became a teacher but eventually an elementary school principal.

“As I went through college and swapped from major to major, I found an EDU [education] class and I fell in love with the idea of working with children,” he said.

By taking that education class, Janes was able to see that it was possible to have a job that was more fun than work.

“I think it was the opportunity to do some observation hours and work one-on-one with the students, and I saw that you have the opportunity to have fun and enjoy what you do, and you also have the opportunity to pass that enjoyment along to young people,” he said. “Because so many times for young people, school is their most enjoyable time.”

Janes is principal of Park City Elementary, a position he has held for two years. He came to Park City from Barren County Middle School where he taught math and science for six years. He wanted to become an elementary school principal after realizing the effect he could have on young peoples’ lives.

“As a classroom teacher you have the opportunity to impact the lives of your 30 or so students at one time, but as principal you have the opportunity to impact the lives of an entire school of students,” he said.

Janes loves being at Park City Elementary.

“It’s a family atmosphere,” he said. “We have roughly 360 to 370 students. The staff really takes care of each other and you take care of their students as well. The students buy into the fact they are part of the family, too. I love that.”

Since he has been at Park City, the school has partnered with Dart Container Corporation to complete SmartBoard Installs in every classroom thanks to a grant from Dart Container; developed a partnership with Mammoth Cave National Park where environmental educators visit the school one to two days a week each month and kindergarten and fourth-grade students visit the national park each year; and developed a partnership with the Barren County Health Department to acquire a full-time nurse at the school.

Janes comes from a small community in Adair County, Sparksville, so a small school really appealed to him, he said.

His faculty and students had nothing but nice things to say about him.

Mary Jo Corbin, who teaches fourth and fifth grade at Park City, said Janes is a good leader.

“He does a great job. He’s always kind to both teachers and the students. When there is a need, like a family need, he’s there for us. He knows our families are first and foremost, the most important thing to us, and with that in mind we don’t take advantage of him,” she said. “We feel like a family with him here.”

Missy Botts, who teaches at Park City, taught at BCMS with Janes before he became principal at Park City. She made the move to Park City from BCMS the same year he did.

“He’s an excellent person. He’s what you call a real good guy. He’s fair. He’s honest. He tries to do what’s best for everybody involved,” she said.

The transition from being her co-worker to being her boss has been seemless, she said.

“Anthony was always somebody you could talk to if you needed advice on something,” Botts said. “I taught math and he taught science, so we were very closely related with our subjects. He was always a real nice guy. You could always talk to him and count on him for things. He is basically the same as a boss. He really doesn’t act like he’s your boss. He acts like we’re all in it together.”

As a principal, Janes is goal oriented and puts everything he can to achieve the goal he has in mind for the school, she said.

Student Rebecca Hurley, a sixth-grader, said Janes is very nice.

“If we do something we get rewarded for it ...,” she said, adding the rewards are usually fun.

An example of a reward students at Park City might receive, is a pizza party if they are named Citizen of the Month, she said.

Student Ethan Damron, also a sixth-grader, said Janes is “nice and caring.”

“He’s a good guy, I think,” Damron said.

As for handing out punishment, Janes is fair, he said.

“If you did it, you did it,” Damron said.

Janes made the decision to come to Barren County because of the school district’s reputation.

“When I came out of college I heard great things about the district,” he said, adding he wanted to go to a district where he had to work to establish himself as a leader.

Since he has been at Park City, he has revamped the school’s scheduling so teachers have double-grade common planning times, meaning fifth and sixth-grade teachers have the same planning times each day as do third and fourth-grade teachers. Doing so allows teachers to vertically plan their lessons from grade to grade, he said.

The Breakfast Club, which takes place at the start of the school day, has changed so that students who are struggling in math receive 30 minutes of additional math time each day. The students in the Breakfast Club are broken into 11 groups with a student to teacher ratio of four to one.

“So they are getting their hour of regular math instruction, plus an additional 30 minutes every day of math instruction,” he said.

There is a focus on math and reading because he believes students who excel in those subject areas will also succeed in other subjects.  

The school is currently involved in a recycling project that officials hope will become a community program.

“We want to teach our students how to better use their environment or conserve their environment, so that as they get older, and as we get older as well they can pass it along to their children,” he said.

His goal for Park City is to continue the success that is already occurring at the school and to focus even more on reading and math.

“I want to see my students become productive citizens,” he said.

Janes is working to obtain his Rank I in education and aspires to become a director of pupil personnel one day. He hopes to finish his Rank I by the spring or early summer of 2011.

During his career as an educator, he has received the Middle School Teacher of the Year for Barren County for the 2005-06 school year and was the recipient of the Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching Award, also for the 2005-06 school year.

Janes was also a member of the 2010 Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class.

When he’s not at work, he’s spending his time with his wife, Chasity, and their boys, Caleb, 5, and Peyton, 2.

He and his wife are actively involved with their church, the House of Prayer, in Edmonton. The Janeses, along with another couple, head up the church’s children’s ministry.

Janes also enjoys golf, but said his game is not as good as it once was.

“It was better before I was a principal,” he said. Back then he shot in the 70s, but doesn’t have as much time to devote to the game as he once did.