May 21, 2017
After working at Century High School in the Hillsboro School District in Oregon for eight years, Dr. Janelle Danskey has decided to take the opening assistant principal position at CHS.
Dr. Danskey, however, was not always an administrator. In fact, she spent five years teaching social studies in the classroom.
“Over that five years I taught nine different classes and I created from scratch I think five of those with no textbook,” Danskey said.
While she loved teaching, she realized she could do a better job as an administrator.
“It is so imperative to provide a high quality education for students. That is the most valuable thing that I can do as an adult. I want to be really good at what I do. And I want to do the very best that I can do and provide the very best that I can. So that really guides me. Honestly, that was it. It was just seeing that there was a problem I can fix it, I can absolutely do this.” Danskey said.
She went back to school and received her administrator’s license in 2009 and started working in the administration as Dean of Students at Century High School. It was there that she realized being an administrator, for her, was a more fulfilling job than being a teacher. Working in the administration as an assistant principal also added more variation to Danskey’s workday.
“I like that you don’t know kind of what is going to happen during the day. There are always surprises, there is always challenge, there is ways to keep growing professionally. There are some unique troubles within the job that come with being an administrator that I enjoy a lot,” Danskey said.
This past October, Danskey realized that she wanted to move cities. Last year, her sister and her family had moved to St. Louis, so Danskey wanted to be closer to her sister. Danskey was looking at high schools throughout the St. Louis area.
“[I looked for] a place where I knew my work could make a difference for students because that really matters to me. Being good at my job and working as a public servant – those are all things that I value a lot. My primary mission is to build relationships with students and staff,” Danskey said.
In Oregon, public schools struggle with having to deal with large budget cuts.
“I have worked my entire career in a budget crisis. It’s a challenge. We are going to have to cut more teachers and our class sizes are huge.” Danskey said. “Schools all over Oregon have these budget issues. We also have a large number of students who live in poverty. We had those challenges that Clayton does not have,” Danskey said. “I just think that [this new job] will be different — but in a positive way.”
The assistant principal position opened in the spring of this year because Instructional Coordinator Stacy Felps decided to return to the math department at CHS for the 2017-2018 school year. Three years ago, Felps moved from the classroom and into this administrative role – a role that was meant to allow CHS administrators the time to develop a plan for the type of administrator they would later add to their team.
“Dr. Gutchewsky had the idea that if we slowed down, it would give us a better idea of who we are and what we need. So he asked me about doing some work as an Instructional Coordinator – to be in classrooms, to think with people about teaching and what we can do to be stronger – so I did,” Felps said.
In addition to being eager to return to the classroom, Felps is looking forward to welcoming Danskey to CHS.
“She seems awesome,” Felps said. “I sat in on interviews, and it seems like she has a lot of really great ideas.”
Although Danskey is unsure what to expect on her first day at CHS, she is excited to grow into her new role at CHS.
“I will use an analogy – the first time I did pole vault in track during high school, I did it because my dad did it when he was in highschool,” Danskey said. “When you first pick up that pole you don’t really know what to expect because you have never done it before. So part of it is really exciting, a part of it is really unknown. I use that analogy as I haven’t been to a school day at Clayton High School. I am not sure what to expect quite yet. But I am really looking forward to it.”