New Principal at Wydown


Photo of Wydown’s new principal, Jamie Jordan(Robin Fultz)

Noah Brown, Managing Editor

Jamie Jordan will again be working alongside former colleague and current CHS principal Dr. Dan Gutchewsky. Instead of working together in the Lindbergh School District, as they previously had, the duo will now be joining forces in the Clayton School District.

With current Wydown Middle School Principal Mary Ann Goldberg looking ahead to retirement, Jordan has been named Wydown’s new principal.

Jordan, currently the principal at University City middle school, Brittany Woods, fits the bill as someone who could fill the shoes of Goldberg, who has retired after 16 years on the job.

Jordan, a St. Louis native, graduated from Lindbergh High Schoolwhere she landed her first teaching job, working with Gutchewsky.

“When I first started teaching, I was teaching alongside my former teachers, which was kind of crazy and funny at the same time,” Jordan said.

Gutchewsky is looking forward to working with Jordan in the coming years.

“She is intelligent, enthusiastic and truly cares about her students,” Gutchewsky said. “I know that she has done great things at University City and I look forward to her leadership at Wydown.”

Jordan’s dive into the field of education was not quite a direct one.

“I went to Mizzou to be in broadcast journalism, but when I was in high school, I used to coach a middle school dance team and that’s when I became interested in middle school education, and education in general,” Jordan said.

Despite originally planning to major in broadcast journalism, Jordan quickly changed her major to middle school education, after realizing her true passion.

Clayton’s Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Sean Doherty played a large role in the decision to hire Jordan. However, the process to reach the decision was lengthy and involved many stakeholders.

“As part of the process, she had to go through a number of steps. She had to go through a screening with Central Office people, she had to take a writing assessment and she also had to take a set of data and analyze and interpret that data,” Doherty said.

Doherty explained that Jordan also had to do interviews with parents, members of the staff and multiple sets of students. In addition, she was required to lead a professional development session among staff members.

“We feel like our principals need to be instructional leaders and be the teachers of the teachers, and so she had an opportunity to come in and we could see how she interacted with the teachers as well,” Doherty said.

Throughout the process, Jordan’s potential to be a successful instructional leader at WMS was recognized.

“Jamie Jordan was someone who emerged as someone who could build relationships with people, someone who had extreme student focus and someone who connected well during the student interviews with the students,” Doherty said.

Aside from being able to complete the tasks that were assigned to her as part of the hiring process, Jordan’s unique background was also an important factor.

Jordan believes that her experiences working at University City have shaped the way she views her role in education.

“One of the things that being a principal at U-City has taught me is that all students come with all different types of gifts and talents, and one of the goals we should have as educators is to be able to work with each individual kid to get them to be able to do whatever they need to do to pursue those gifts and talents,” she said.

Despite the different environments at University City and Clayton, Jordan and the Clayton administration both believe the transition will be a smooth one.

“They are very different and they have different systems in place. They’re different neighborhoods,” Doherty said. “I think one of the things that I always think about as a leader, is someone who can adjust to novel situations based off the information they are collecting. I think Jamie’s going to be one of these people that’s going to take time to get to know the community.”

Jordan believes that there may not be much difference between the two schools.

“Truthfully, I bet when I get there, it may not be all that different. Kids are kids, no matter where you go,” she said.

Jordan also said that her vision for WMS is similar to the one she had at Brittany Woods.

“My goal is to make sure every single kid at Wydown feels the same equal opportunity to do whatever they need to do,” she said.

Jordan is particularly focused on relationships with the students and faculty.

“I’m really honestly looking forward to just getting to know everybody. So far, everyone has been so welcoming and nice, so I think it’s just going to be a positive and fun opportunity,” Jordan said.

Jordan takes over at WMS during a time of debate and transition over the school’s curriculum. Jordan plans to invest time in listening and learning from the people around her, both students and staff, to come up with a common approach to solving these issues.

“When you think of schools in general, you tend to think of them as isolated little classes, but really when you think about learning overall, they’re a lot more integrated, so I’d love to see a movement towards that and I think this would be a great time to do that at Wydown,” Jordan said.

Doherty strongly believes that Jordan will keep Wydown moving in the right direction.

“I think that one of the things that she’ll do is build a collective efficacy across the school, and bring the whole group together,” Doherty said. “Wydown is experiencing a lot of change right now, and I think she will be one of those people that will help lead the change, but she will also be one of those people that helps others through the change.”