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She’s all excited about her first day at school

Jennifer Taylor is the new principal at USC Elementary School

By Fiona Edberg - Staff Writer | Sep 12, 2021

Principal Jennifer Taylor at her desk at USC.

A long-time advocate of learning and growth, Jennifer Taylor is seeking a new opportunity to apply her experience in education through her position as principal of United South Central Elementary School.

Taylor’s life has led her through many places, but her journey began in Marshall.

“I grew up in Marshall, Minnesota, where I graduated from Marshall Senior High School,” Taylor shares. “I have lived in West Des Moines, Iowa, Greensboro, North Carolina, Lake Saint Louis, Missouri, and I have lived west of Albert Lea for the last 17 years.”

Taylor’s post-secondary education reflects a passion for educating others.

“I earned my Bachelor of Science from Southwest Minnesota State University, Master of Science from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and my K-12 Administration license, Director of Special Education license, and my Education Specialist degree from Southwest Minnesota State University,” Taylor says.

Successful teachers are made so by much more than the degrees they have earned, however. Taylor’s experience in the field proves she is no exception to this rule. “I have been devoted to the field of education for over 20 years, in a variety of roles that include being a facilitator at the Center for Creative Leadership for the Women’s Leadership Program, Leading Creatively, and the Leadership Development Program,” Taylor explains.

“It really is one of the world’s top leadership development organizations,” says Taylor of the Center for Creative Leadership.

She continues, “It was founded in 1970. It is a program very much geared towards women and women advancing in their careers.”

Apart from advocating for women, Taylor spent much of her time at the Center for Creative Leadership facilitating leadership training for individuals from all walks of life, including executives from Fortune 500 companies.

Taylor was drawn towards the mission of the program, which has a variety of locations worldwide, including current locations in San Diego, California, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Latin America, and Greensboro, North Carolina, where Taylor was stationed.

“I love the continuous improvement piece of it,” Taylor says. She sees the growth mindset of the program as directly related to her philosophy regarding the field of education.

“We all start at different places,” says Taylor of the education process, “but everyone has the ability to change and develop, and that is the beauty of education.”

Following her time with the Center for Creative Leadership Program, Taylor worked as an academic services manager at Lindenwood University, and then spent many years in the field of education as a classroom teacher.

“I absolutely loved my time as a classroom teacher,” Taylor says. “There is no better profession in my opinion. Teachers are more than just an educator; they are mentors, confidants, and guides as they interact with students at all stages of development and from all walks of life.”

Taylor sees her growth-centered teaching philosophy as integral to educating a wide variety of students equitably.

“My goal is to reach and teach every child,” Taylor explains. “That’s so important regardless of where they’re at and where they came from.”

Taylor sees having high, but also appropriate expectations for each child as key to their success in learning.

“Realistic and high expectations drive a lot of students, and create authentic learning,” Taylor says.

Though she loved her time as a classroom teacher, Taylor wanted to apply her growth mindset to her own career, as well.

“I decided to transition from teaching to administration because I have a strong desire to continue my work as an educational leader who is not only dependable and student-oriented, but a team player who is capable of working seamlessly alongside staff, students, administration, and parents to facilitate the optimal outcome in every situation,” Taylor explains.

She is already extremely excited about the team she is working alongside at United South Central Elementary School.

“I have a phenomenal staff,” Taylor says. “They do an amazing job. They really care about kids, and are very authentic.”

She adds, “I think together we will make a dynamic team.”

Taylor is extremely invested in her school community. However, she also enjoys spending time with her more immediate family when she is not serving the United South Central School District.

“All three of my children swim,” Taylor says. “My biggest hobby is going to watch them swim and being a part of their activities.”

Taylor has three children along with her husband, Craig Taylor. Her daughter, Emily, is a junior at Minnesota State University Mankato, her son, William, will be a freshman at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire this fall, and her son, Jacob, is a sophomore at Albert Lea Senior High School.

While her family is most avid about swimming, they also developed an unusual hobby together over the pandemic.

“We have a Taylor Kids Pumpkin Patch,” Taylor laughs. The pumpkins have survived this summer’s drought, and the patch is now flourishing into its second year.

Taylor has also devoted 15 years to her book group.

“I have this wonderful group of women, who are so dynamic. As a group we’ve really kept each other going over the years,” Taylor says.

Taylor clearly brings enthusiasm to many areas of her life; from her career, to her family, to her personal hobbies. Her new position as principal is no exception.

“I look forward to the varied roles I will fill as part of my position,” Taylor says. “I am excited to meet and engage with students and parents and guardians, visit classrooms, and provide positive support for staff and student achievement.”