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The veteran educator and administrator comes to Newberg from posts in Beaverton

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Jennifer Bailey takes the reins of Joan Austin Elementary School from prior principal Alaina Carter.

Bringing more than two decades of experience as a teacher and principal, Jennifer Bailey started as the new principal at Joan Austin Elementary School on Aug. 1. Bailey arrives in the Chehalem Valley by way of Beaverton, where she was most recently the principal of Greenway Elementary School.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of the Newberg School District," Bailey said. "It's a beautiful community. The parents I've met so far are thoughtful and very engaging, and so are the teachers. I'm fascinated by the history of Joan Austin too."

Prior to leading the administration at Greenway, Bailey worked in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District as a teacher and administrator. She and her husband live in West Linn with their daughter – a senior at West Linn High School – while their son attends Oregon State University.

Bailey liked the small town feel of working in West Linn-Wilsonville and said working in Beaverton was very different, but she values the entirety of her experiences in education. She said she's glad, though, to be back in a smaller community – particularly one as close-knit and family-oriented as Newberg.

"I was in West Linn for 21 years, so I didn't often think of moving around," Bailey said. "But when I saw Newberg had an opening, I knew I had to jump on it. I knew I would love working in a smaller community after getting that experience in a larger community in Beaverton. Newberg is a really special place."

Building relationships with parents and teachers has been the focus of Bailey's first week, along with getting acquainted with the day-to-day responsibilities of the job. The school year is fast approaching and with it comes a lot of preparation. Bailey said she is excited for that process.

Outside of work, Bailey is a big sports fan and avid runner. She is a fan of Notre Dame and Michigan football and her family loves to golf together as well. She is part of a Hood to Coast team and fitness is an important part of her life.

Bailey believes sports are a way for a community to come together and she looks forward to watching her students play on sports teams in the area. Her first impressions of Newberg actually came through sports.

"I've been in Oregon for 30 years and so my experience with Newberg started from the view of a college student," she said. "I attended Willamette University, so George Fox was one of our rivals. Nowadays my girlfriends and I have rented the occasional Airbnb out there in wine country and that's always fun."

In a district press release announcing Bailey's hiring, Superintendent Joe Morelock commended her ability to successfully lead Joan Austin Elementary School into the future.

"Jen brings the right balance of experience, skills and relational ability for our students and staff at Joan Austin," he said. "We feel very confident she'll bring leadership that continues to build on Joan Austin's strengths."


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