What was viewed as a distant opportunity recently manifested as an incredible honor for Becky Jobes, the Elementary School Principal here at the International School of Panama. Nominated by School Director Viki Stiebert for the National Distinguished Principal Award, Becky submitted the required recommendations and writing prompts and wrote off the process as an experience in reflection. Becky did not imagine she would become a recipient of the award in her 5th year at ISP.
Working through the application process Becky said there was a lot to reflect on. “It made me realize how far we have come and how much we have been able to do at school. On a personal level it also made me realize how much I have grown as a Principal and education professional. I think our ES staff would say the same thing.” That experience of being a part of impactful change was the entire basis of the application. Becky wrote about the transition to Standards Based Reporting, the development of a Parent Advisory Council, and constantly working to find structures that support communication and work time. As Becky explained, “although I was applying for the Award on a personal level, I found myself writing about ‘us’ and ‘we.’ It is enormously gratifying to have this opportunity to reflect and share what is so special about ISP, that we always have our eye on the horizon and we are constantly moving forward.”
To Becky’s great surprise, Viki notified her on April 23 that she was one of the two overseas recipients of the award. An educator from the state of Colorado in the United States, Becky originally came to ISP as the Assistant Principal. Early in her first year, the former elementary principal encouraged her to apply for the position of principal and Becky was appointed to that position. Now in her 5th year, she is living out her dream of living abroad and being part of a culture that is different and unique compared to where she grew up.
Moving forward, Becky is committed to a continued focus on our Professional Learning Pathways for teachers, shifting our school towards student-centered practices, and strengthening the home-school connection.
October 11 and 12, Becky will travel to Washington D.C. to attend an award ceremony and gala at the Department of State. Our entire school community and especially our elementary school thank Becky for her exemplary leadership and passion for moving ISP forward.