The Saratoga Sun -

Combining campuses

CCSD2 selects Darrin Jennings Saratoga K-12 principal, Zach Schmidt assistant-combining schools' administrations


April 11, 2018

Saratoga Sun file photo

Darrin Jennings is getting prepared to spend time at both Saratoga Middle/High School and Saratoga Elementary School.

Linda Butler is leaving the position as principal of Saratoga Senior and Middle School to take on a new role in a management position at Carbon County School District No. 2's (CCSD2) office.

A search started for a replacement, and a committee was formed that included close to 20 people. Darrin Jennings, principal of Saratoga Elementary School (SES), was on the committee as they interviewed four candidates.

After one candidate dropped out, Jennings was approached about the job.

"I was asked by a committee member if I was interested in being a K-12 principal and having Zach (Schmidt) as an assistant and it snowballed from there," Jennings, principal of SES said.

Jennings excused himself from the room when the committee decided to review the possible principals for the school.

Dr. Jim Copeland, Superintendent for CCSD2, approached Jennings the day after the committee had met and talked to him about the position.

"At first we were looking at the current model of having a middle, high school principal, but this new system could be exciting and really good for K-12 in Saratoga," Jennings said.

Jennings said he and Schmidt will be visible at both schools.

"We will be between buildings," Jennings said. "I have run campuses before, or schools that have multiple campuses; so you have administration in each building at any given time, but Zach will spend some time in the elementary school and some time in the high school and it is the same with me."

Jennings foresees Schmidt and himself working closely together to achieve the goal of making students' gain from this new system.

"We each have our own roles that we perform," Jennings said. "We will both be in kid role and work with kids, but I might work with transportation and maintenance and Zach might take food services, so the roles will be delegated."

Jennings believes by both him and Schmidt knowing students from when they start school to when they finish has many advantages.

"What I am looking forward to trying is to align the K-12 system, so that high school teachers know elementary teachers, and high school kids know elementary kids so that we really get that close connection."

He believes older students can be a positive role model for younger students and Jennings sees rewards with this system.

"I think a high school senior has a lot to offer the younger grade kids, especially in a town like Saratoga," Jennings said. "I see assigning high school kids to tasks to live up to those expectations so they can be a positive role model for younger kids; I think there will be some good benefits with that."

Jennings thinks transition between elementary students and middle high school will be easier for the children to feel acclimated because they will know both principals.

"I have already had conversations with some of my sixth grade students where I say 'you aren't off the hook next year because I am still with you'," Jennings said. "I do see some benefits for the transitions."

Jennings said he was also excited about the opportunity to work with the teachers he has met that are at Saratoga Middle/High School.

"It is going to be a privilege to work with them as it has been here at the elementary school," Jennings said.

He said there will still be open door policies and both principals will accessible to parents.

"Any parent that might be concerned about not having that one principal to talk to, they will actually have two," Jennings said. "I want to assure parents we will be very available to them."


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