Principal moves to district office
Jessamy Lasher left her post as Kings Beach Elementary School principal this summer to work at the district office in Truckee. But that doesn’t mean she can’t visit. Lasher, who served as principal for the past three of her 36 years in education, plans to continue mentoring elementary school kids while working as director of curriculum at the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. “One of the things I felt is so important when you go into administration, is that you never forget what it’s like to read with a child, because that’s where the learning occurs,” she said. “Dealing with a child is much more important than paperwork.”But just one month into her new job heading the district’s textbooks and standardized testing programs, she’s proven she’s not so bad at the paperwork, either.
“She’s already jumped in with both feet,” said Superintendent Dennis Williams, citing her recent creation of a professional library so teachers can check out reference and teaching materials. “She has very high expectations for herself and her staff, she brings a proven track record of building schools and strong collaboration with staff,” Williams added. The district is interviewing five candidates to replace Lasher as principal of Kings Beach Elementary today, with the leading candidate expected to be approved by the school board at its Aug. 4 meeting, Williams said. Lasher said taking the new position was a natural next step after teaching and administering school sites for more than three decades. Her responsibilities include monitoring standards like those of the national No Child Left Behind Act, as well as managing funds for curriculum used in various programs, including Gifted and Talented and English as a Second Language.
Of all the challenges of her new post, the one she seems most concerned about is being farther away from children. “The huge change is I don’t have the kids – that, I know, is going to be a big challenge for me,” said Lasher, who was usually spotted at Kings Beach Elementary with at least one student holding her hand or wrapped around her waist. From the beginning of her tenure at the school, she led reading groups, at first because there weren’t enough teachers to staff them. But when she realized how much she missed teaching, especially language arts, she continued to tutor. Lasher has agreed to spend a few hours a week working with students once the school year starts, she said.
Looking back over the three years she spent at Kings Beach Elementary, Lasher said she’s proud of the staff’s accomplishments. The administration and teachers pulled together to address the needs of all students at a school where at least one third of them speak Spanish as their first language, she said. “When children feel they aren’t smart, they act dumb. If we can help them feel that they can learn and they know how, all the sudden we see their behavior change,” she said, stressing the importance of the school’s partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe in creating a safety net for kids in Kings Beach. The main challenge she faces in her new role as district staffer, she said, is meeting stringent state standards with less and less funding. “I think we have a big job ahead of us,” Lasher said.
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