"It is not about thinking outside the box, it is thinking there is no box"
My name is Jessie Swift and I have been a part of the Soledad Unified School District for seven years. My journey, however, did not start here. I am originally from Louisville, Colorado, a very small town much like Soledad. I moved to San Francisco to attend college at SFSU. During my time there I earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology and was quickly scooped up to be a teacher, which ultimately led me to Soledad.
I taught life science for one year in Gilroy at Solarzano Middle School. It was there that I found my compassion for kids and the importance of empathy. To be closer to home and experience a different level of students, I took a job at San Benito High School, where I taught biology and health.
After a year at SBHS I wanted to work with students who were at risk, and in a community where I could inspire students to want to be better and that is where Soledad Unified came into play. I was recruited to teach biology and health as well as coach cheerleading at Soledad High School. This is where I found my passion for teaching and developing the drive in students to want to pursue science at the post-secondary level. I love watching students take on challenges and develop a sense of worth. At SHS, I was able to build lasting relationships with students, staff and the community.
As I continued to grow in my profession, I wanted more; I wanted to make a bigger impact on students, and the community I serve in. I went back to school and earned my Masters in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Social Justice. This prepared me to take on the challenges and expectations of a Vice Principal at the high school. After one year at the high school, I was moved to the middle school to help bridge the academic and social gaps. I have now been at the middle school for three years (two as a VP and one as the principal). The middle school has provided me with many opportunities to work with students at a very crucial age; they are at a constant crossroads.
As a leader, it is my job to build and develop a strong team of professionals who make an impact on students and build their self-worth. The late Steve Jobs once said, " It is not about thinking outside the box, it is about thinking there is no box.” This statement resonates in everything I do, every decision I make, and every opportunity that is presented...how can I do it better, how can I do it differently?
I am excited for the opportunity to continue be a part of the work being done by the Trojan staff as we continue to engage, inspire and prepare the next generation of students to not only improve on what is, but create what will be.