Jesse says his route to becoming a Principal was almost accidental. "I was teaching Shop, Physical Education, and Social Studies classes and my Principal asked if I would be willing to earn my administrator license so I might become our next school Principal." After some deep reflection, and conversations with his wife, Mr. Oliver decided to pursue the opportunity. He says, "it was difficult, as I loved teaching and helping students become as passionate as I am about any subject I taught." To earn his certification, Mr. Oliver attended Western State University while working as an Assistant Principal, He became a Principal the year after his administrator mentor's retirement. "I was already a school leader for 3 years when I came to the Cañon City School District where I have since been a Teacher On Special Assignment, Assistant Principal, and now Principal at Cañon City Middle School.
Mr. Oliver says the hardest thing about being a Principal is managing the instructional goals of a school as well as the support and emotional needs of the entire staff and all students. He adds, "balancing these things is the most difficult part of my job. Staff and students come to school to do the best job they can. However, when outside events impact their ability to do this and you have to manage those things, it becomes quite difficult.
The most rewarding part of Mr. Oliver's job is watching students grow academically and emotionally. Jesse says, "middle school students are very adaptable, requiring a great deal of love, support, and attention. I've been a school administrator for grades 5 through 12 and have taught the same grades and ages. Both positions are incredibly rewarding, but without a doubt, the most enjoyable part of my job is the positive difference I can make in an individual's life.
What advice would Mr. Oliver offer to anyone who thinks they might wish to become a school principal? "Ensure you are doing it because you want to make a larger difference than you can in your classroom." He adds, "the biggest concern for me was that I might have less day to day contact with students. This sounds strange because I am in charge of them all. However, the added focus around staff, mission, and vision takes some of that interaction time with students away. I would advocate for anyone who wants to be a leader to jump in. But be sure you are ready for the many complex challenges that will surely come your way!"