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Julie Skeens dreamed about doing many different jobs when she grew up, but one goal always remained the same for her-- she wanted to educate people in some way.
After teaching at the high school level, working as a loan officer, serving as an instructional coach for the district and as a special education teacher, Skeens said her journey has been a long one, but necessary in order to get where she is today.
“My love of education has caused me to study it and be hands-on with it,” she said.
Starting her 14th year as an educator in Bullitt County, Skeens joins the staff at Crossroads Elementary School as the new pricipal.
Her first official day in charge was July 15 so she hasn’t gotten to be around a lot of the children yet, but she looks forward to having them all back.
“When something sparks with a child it makes everything else in education worthwhile,” she said.
One of her big goals for this year is to start forming community partnerships with “coffee breaks” at Crossroads.
“I want to introduce (local businesses) to the school, to let them see our programs and give them opportunities to volunteer if they want to,” she said. “I think this is a key component that a lot of a schools are missing.”
Skeens thinks starting a program like this is vital because if the young citizens of Bullitt County are not made aware of the jobs available in their area then they’ll look somewhere else when they are of working-age.
For Skeens, a principal’s role should not only encompass leading the school, but also being visible and knowing what is going on in the classroom.
“Afterall that’s why we’re here—to teach children,” she said.
She thinks her past experience in teaching and coaching will help her to facilitate. Prior to her current job, she was a special education teacher at Old Mill Elementary for 10 years and as an instructional coach for the district for three years collectively at Pleasant Grove Elementary and Eastside Middle School.
When she’s not working Skeens enjoys cooking, swimming, spending time on her family farm in Hodgenville with her husband, Wayne, and playing with her Shih Tzu, Mollie, and kitten, Lazarus.
She has a Bachelor’s in family consumer science from Western Kentucky University, a Master’s in moderate and severe special education from the University of Louisville and her rank 1 certification from WKU.
Skeens hopes that her open-door policy will help her to build relationships with both faculty and students as the year goes on.
“…I want to build leaders… and lead teachers into knowing what their own strengths are,” she said.