Pampa High School will now have a familiar face pictured in the halls of the Region 16 Educational Resource Center in Amarillo.
Assistant Principal Michelle Jensen was named the Assistant Principal of the Year for Region 16, and said the honor was not earned by her alone.
“I was excited and honored,” Jensen said. “I’m super-proud. It’s not a one-person accolade. I can’t do my job without the team we have here. It’s just been Mr. (Clay) Jones and I by ourselves this year. Obviously, he’s just as worthy as I am. It’s a team effort.”
Jensen pointed out the various department heads and secretaries that have been a part of making the 2021-22 school year a success.
Jensen will be starting her 10th year in education in 2022-23, having spent all nine years in Pampa. She started her career as an English teacher and even an assistant basketball coach, until health concerns led her to stop coaching.
“I’m a dialysis patient because I’m in end-stage renal failure,” Jensen said. “It’s an interesting situation, you could say, but I try not to let it keep me from doing my job. It does require some planning, being organized and thinking ahead. We make it work though.”
Jensen does feel fortunate that it is a matter she can handle at home and said she is on the transplant list.
Jensen is in her second-year as assistant principal at Pampa High School.
In a past life, Jensen was a banking officer at First United Bank for eight years in Canyon while she went to college.
“I’ve not held that many jobs,” Jensen said. “I worked at the YMCA in Colorado Springs as a administrative coordinator there for, I think, eight years. Then I taught some pre-school for about a year before going to the bank for about eight years. I tend to stay.”
After earning her Bachelor’s of Arts and Master’s of Arts English degree (She also earned her Principal Certification from Lamar University in 2020.), Jensen made the decision to teach and got a job in Pampa in 2014.
“We made the move and have never been worried about it since,” Jensen said. “It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. We love the town, we love the people. It’s been great for my kids.”
Besides being a good place to raise a family, Jensen said Pampa is a great place to work in education because of the community support.
“I love going to the store and seeing people I know or the kids at their jobs,” Jensen said. “I like that it allows us to network quickly so we are able to help students better. If I know the person who owns Flipz and a student who is a good student and needs a job, it’s easier to network and help kids with internships, jobs and references.
“Here, people know the kids or the parents. People are very generous with time, money and most of the time if we say a need, the community provides it.”
Next, Jensen has some work to do to advance into the next round for Assistant Principal of the Year.
Jensen has three children, Rhys, Sean and Abby. Rhys recently graduated from University of Texas in Arlington, Sean attends Friends University in Wichita, Kan. and Abby graduated from Pampa High School this year and will attend West Texas A&M University next year.
As for her hobbies, Jensen likes to read and write, spending time with family, her dogs and her friend Lisa Mitchell. She likes to travel but with the dialysis, the logistics can make it kind of difficult.
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