- Prairie Ridge Elementary
Meet New Parkwood-Upjohn Principal Jessica Rosecrans
Jessica Rosecrans smiles — she knows it sounds a little goofy — but the most exciting moment of her life may have been being named principal of Parkwood-Upjohn Elementary School.
“I mean I haven’t done anything like skydiving,” she said with a laugh. “Becoming a principal, that would have to be one of my top experiences.”
Rosecrans is originally from Hartland. She moved to Kalamazoo 10 years ago to work for Portage Public Schools. She was a Young 5’s teacher for three years, before becoming a fourth-grade teacher. For the last five years, she’s been the Engagement Specialist for Angling Elementary School, which included serving as the leader of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion team, coordinator of Multi-Systems of Support, leading the building scheduling, and serving as an instructional coach and facilitator of the school’s Restorative Practice Circles.
She holds a bachelor of arts in elementary education from Central Michigan University, a master’s degree in the art of teaching from Marygrove College, and administrator certification from the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals Path to Leadership.
Rosecrans said she always knew she wanted to be an educator, but she didn’t know what that would look like. She loved being a teacher but said she found her true calling when she became the engagement specialist. In that position, she assisted the principal in supporting the whole building and worked with families.
“As I took on more and more leadership roles, I found I was good at helping other people be leaders,” Rosecrans said. “I knew it was the right fit for me.
“When I was teaching, I loved growing my own family culture, a small, cozy atmosphere. I loved connecting with families and students. I was really good at building connections and relationships with students. As a leader I built the same connected feeling with more students and more families.”
Establishing trust and connection with families and students is even more important as schools continue to come out of the pandemic-era lockdowns.
“I want to help people get back that community feeling, that connectedness and support academically and socially-emotionally,” she said.
Rosecrans lives in the Winchell neighborhood with her husband and two children. She said she is excited to launch the next segment of her career in Kalamazoo Public Schools and that she has long been aware of Parkwood-Upjohn as a parent.
“My kids go to Winchell Elementary, and I’ve been an active part of that community. It was with intention that I applied for the job at Parkwood. I love the feel of Kalamazoo as a community and a school district,” she said.
One of the things that she appreciates about the district is the diversity of its community.
“I am biracial. I was adopted when I was 4. I come from a multiracial family. For me and my family, I wanted to be part of the diversity of a bigger community. I look forward to getting to know people and families of all traditions and backgrounds,” she said. “It is important for me on a personal level and it’s professionally important.”
As an educator, she’s long been interested in reading and literacy, which is one of her education certifications. She has also been active in restorative practices in school, to help rebuild relationships and ensure a sense of community in a school.
Rosecrans said she’s excited to meet her staff and families and is anxious to get busy on the business of learning but also to build those connections that make everyone feel like they have a place at Parkwood-Upjohn.
“I’m really open with families. I encourage them to text me, to communicate. One mom at my old school said, ‘My daughter said you’re like family here.’ I just loved that we connected. When I hear that students and families and staff feel they are seen and heard, I feel good about that. That’s exciting for me.”
FUN FACTS ABOUT MS. ROSECRANS:
• Pets: She has two cats, Savannah and Iggy. Iggy is named after a Super Mario character.
• Biggest hobbies: Reading and being out in nature. We’re a reading family. And, we love camping and going to the Nature Center.
• Favorite food: Pepperoni pizza
• Book: “I Am Enough,” by Grace Byers. It’s very empowering. It shows kids from all backgrounds. It’s about the things they say when they’re feeling strong.