This month’s National Renaissance Staffulty of the Month is Sherry FitzGerald from Jefferson High School in Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia. Nominator Katerina Rushizky describes the importance of a supportive principal in ensuring Renaissance can make an impact (lightly edited):
“Mrs. FitzGerald has accomplished so much for JHS in the few years she has been here. She helped introduce our Renaissance program and has always been extremely supportive of the work Renaissance does. This past summer she attended the Jostens Renaissance National Conference with two other JHS staffulty members and three students. As one of the students on the trip, it was amazing to see our school’s principal so invested into our Renaissance program, our students, the staffulty members, and our JHS community. She expressed so much enthusiasm for our first day back at school and for this school year. With her support, we’ve had our first Renaissance Rally at JHS and are planning for a second one later this winter. We have also implemented new initiatives like #getpinned, where students get pinned with positivity using clothes pins. The school has also implemented new student initiatives like the Cougar Closet, a place for all students to find clothing throughout the year, and JHS Student Communications, a group of students from the leadership class that are responsible for improving communications for students and staffulty at JHS. It is extremely clear Mrs. FitzGerald is always looking out for the students and staffulty of JHS! She has gone out of her way to make sure every student and staffulty member at JHS is set up to succeed. We appreciate her kindness and hard work!”
What’s a favorite Renaissance moment for you?
Attending the National Conference this past summer.
How has Renaissance impacted your school’s culture?
Our involvement in Renaissance has enhanced student leadership by providing opportunities for those who aren’t involved in the ways students have historically participated in leadership at our school. While our school has a long history of success and pride, Renaissance has shaped new ways of celebrating successes and recognizing students and staffulty for just being who they are. We are becoming more and more a place where everyone feels like they matter and belong.
How has Renaissance affected you personally?
I have been deeply touched by the incredible work of the students and staffulty who have taken ownership of bringing Renaissance to our school. They have persevered through the naysayers, and have continued to model our core values of respect, responsibility, kindness and honesty. Through their persistence, Renaissance is gaining ground in being woven into the fabric of who we are, rather than a “program” we do. I am so proud of their work and proud to be a Renaissance School!
What advice would you give to someone just starting with Renaissance?
Stick with it and make it your own. Resist comparing your insides to someone else’s outsides… you’ll see other schools at the rallies and conferences who seem to have it all figured out and be doing lots of big and elaborate things, and you’ll wonder if you can ever get to that level. Dip your toe in, dive in, whatever is your style. There’s no right or wrong way. Just know that every little thing you do toward valuing relationships matters.
Sherry will receive a shirt and a lapel pin, and was entered into a drawing for free registration to this year’s Jostens Renaissance National Conference.
To nominate someone in your school for the National Renaissance Staffulty of the Month honor, click here.