Jennifer Police is in for a busy summer and that’s just fine with her. On Tuesday the current assistant principal at Monomoy Regional High School was chosen to replace departing principal William Burkhead. She is set to step into her new job on July 1.
Police was chosen from a pool of 12 applicants that was ultimately winnowed down to two finalists, who were then interviewed remotely, in keeping with COVID-19 social distancing protocols, by parents of Monomoy students, as well as current students, with Police receiving an 89 percent positive rating.
Monomoy’s hiring committee, comprised of administrators, educators, support staff, parents, and students, voted unanimously to appoint Police to the position.
Police said her main reason for applying was her dedication to the district.
“First of all, it was my commitment to the district, families and kids foremost,” she said, adding that she also saw promise in the school’s future. “One of the things that attracted me to the district was it was the most exciting place with the most potential. I saw [becoming principal] as another opportunity to continue to build on some of the great things that Mr. Burkhead has accomplished, and maybe take the next step as a district.”
A self-described creative problem solver, Police said she comes armed with institutional knowledge that she feels can help the school progress, and emphasizes the work school officials have done in creating a school culture that puts students first.
The concern, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting school closures, is what might happen regarding a return in the fall. Police said she’s doing all she can to prepare.
“I am prepared to be very creative and make sure that no matter what the fall looks like that we are providing the best experience possible for our kids,” Police said. “Uncertainty is going to make people nervous. I have been involved in the rollout and design of all of our unique programs over the last five or six years and will do whatever it takes to be sure we keep our identity and our programs intact that are foundationally the fabric of our school.”
Police said that regardless of whether the school building is physically open, now is the time for Monomoy to remain united.
“Now it’s about collectively pulling together again,” she said. “What’s our next step? What’s Monomoy 2.0? It’s just another opportunity to establish greatness again.”
Aware that she’s got some proverbially big shoes to fill, Police said she’s looking forward to continuing Monomoy’s tradition of excellence, while seeking ways to expand that success.
“I think that what I will bring is an unwavering support of our students and our families and the communities that we serve,” Police said. “I was like that as a school counselor and I will continue to put students first in all of our decisions. I’m excited about really digging down and talking about teaching and learning and what it’s like for a student in the 21st century to be in the classroom.”
One thing that will not change is Police’s open-door policy.
“People that know me know that my door is always open,” Police said. “I truly want to take a collaborative approach to the next phase at the high school. This is not just about me coming with top down ideas and decisions. I do want a collective voice and I’m willing to put in the work and the hours. I’m most excited about the next phase of Monomoy Regional High School and what that’s going to look like.”
Police has been assistant principal at the school for the past two years, focusing on curriculum and instruction. Prior to that, she was director of guidance for three years.
“Jen is exceptionally well-connected to the students, families, and staff of Monomoy and will have the ability to leverage this connection during an unprecedented time, where all are seeking stability and some sense of normalcy,” Monomoy Superintendent Dr. Scott Carpenter said in a statement. “More than that, she is also someone who I’ve watched grow as an educational leader, with a keen appreciation of the academic and cultural aspects underlying great high schools.”
Burkhead leaves the post he's held for the past six years July 1 to become superintendent of schools in Scituate.