Williams Avenue Elementary School in Fort Payne is kicking off its new school year by welcoming a new principal, Jenny List.
List is a graduate of Indiana University, where she received her degree in elementary education and special education.
“I received my master’s [degree] in Administration from the University of Alabama,” List said.
List lives in Fort Payne and is married with three children and four grandchildren.
“My two oldest live in Ohio, and my youngest, Jena Baugh, is a dentist here in Fort Payne.
She started her practice with Dr. Vizzinia this year,” she said.
According to List, she originally moved to the area about 11 years ago from her previous home near Greenville, Ohio after her husband took a job in Rainsville, Alabama.
List began her career in elementary education in Ohio; however, after taking a long-term substitute position in a special education setting, she decided to pursue her certification in special education.
“I fell in love with it [special education], and I wanted to do that since I was in high school, so I immediately started to purse my certification,” List said.
Upon graduating, she landed a job teaching in a special education classroom in the same school district she graduated from.
“I did what we called an emotional disability classroom. I dealt with students with a background of having more of an emotional disability and behavioral situations,” List said.
After her move to Alabama, List accepted a job at the Fort Payne Middle School where she worked in special education and did an inclusion spot in seventh and eighth grade.
She would later be transferred to a position at Fort Payne High School, where she worked for around eight years with students in special education.
“I spent probably about eight years or more there, [working] with students who had multiple disabilities, and I loved that,” List said.
According to List, a few years ago her husband’s job transferred him back up north, and they relocated to Indiana for a year.
“During that year, I took another special education position and inclusion at a high school,” she said.
After a visit back to Alabama, List and her husband decided to move back.
“On June 4, we moved back, and it was interesting because it was the same day we had moved here 11 years ago,” List said.
Although List had landed a position at FPHS, she was selected to fill another post as a half-time principal at Williams Avenue and Fort Payne Middle School.
“I took that role two years ago for a year, and this last year I did a full year at Fort Payne Middle School,” she said.
According to List, the year at Fort Payne Middle School consisted of handling special education activities that included working with individual [Individualized Education Programs], [English Language] teachers, response intervention and also behavior situations.
“My main focus there was student performance and making sure that students were getting what they needed in the classroom as well as additional support,” she said.
According to List, she spent about three weeks intensively training under former principal Heath Shaddix and prior to that she worked with him for a year.
“I know what he developed here [Williams Avenue Elementary] and we are going to continue with that same mentality as a family,” she said.
List said this year Williams Avenue would also be welcoming a new school resource officer, Elvis Mojano who will be joining their team.
Regarding the upcoming school year, List said one of the main focuses is preparing the staff and students toward the transition of the future school and making sure that their students are prepared for the new [Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program] testing that will be introduced in the spring of 2020.
“We now have 12 to 18 months until our new school comes, so my focus is to prepare the staff here and the students for what lies ahead,” List said.