Principalís principles benefit her students
Jane Wheeler, who grew up in RP, has been the only Monte Vista Elementary principal since its opening in 1990
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By Natalie Gray  April 12, 2013 12:00 am

Jane Wheeler has been principal of Monte Vista Elementary School since the day the school opened in 1990 and, after those 23 years of dedication, she will be retiring this coming July.

Wheeler has been involved in the field of education for 42 years, having worked a range of different positions in the Vallejo Unified School District before coming to the then newly founded Monte Vista. She could easily be considered a part of the Rohnert Park community before she ever became principal. She lived in the city when she was growing up, while her mother worked as a local reading teacher.

Always interested in students

“I always had a real interest in working with students and adults,” said Wheeler. “It’s so exciting to see the growth and progress of the children, and it’s so rewarding.”

And growth she has seen. According to Wheeler, when she first came to Monte Vista, the school had only 200 students. For the following few years, the student population seemed to grow by 100 students yearly until finally reaching the 600 student range, where the school has remained since.

To Wheeler, the best part of working among children is watching them develop and grow and to be able to consider herself a part of that growth. Playing a role in children’s development means being a part of a team of dedicated staff members and teachers, which Wheeler says is one of her favorite aspects of her career.

“This job has highs and lows like any,” said Wheeler, “but I cannot imagine that the highs that you experience in education can ever be matched.”

Though she is leaving her position as principal, Wheeler does not plan on leaving the world of education altogether. According to Wheeler, she has stated she will be leaving what she calls the world of “day-to-day” work, but does very much strive to still be an involved member of the teaching world by working with teachers to help develop curriculum for the classroom.


Challenging but rewarding

Wheeler’s goal and vision for her profession has always been and continues to be helping children strive and mature into thoughtful, well-rounded and functional members of society – to help children become the best forms of themselves they possibly can be. Sometimes, finding the best way to do that for a student can be the most challenging but also the most rewarding part of the job, says Wheeler.

To try to maintain friendly relations with all her students, their teachers and parents, Wheeler tries to be as personal and actively involved in Monte Vista as she possibly can. She tries to be ever present in her students’ education, leaving her office door open, playing the role as a supervisor in the cafeteria and by visiting classrooms. It is this interaction Wheeler says she will also miss when she retires. She feels she has created a strong partnership with her students’ parents, a solid team with her staff and a very special learning environment for her students.

‘What are you learning?’

“I always ask the children, ‘tell me what you’re learning’ when I visit the classrooms,” said Wheeler. “I’m really going to miss the kids, because that’s why we’re here, to inspire and influence our students.”

Currently, there is a selection process taking place for a replacement principal of Monte Vista, though Wheeler does not know the candidates. She plans to be available to assist the new principal in any way and to continue contributing to the world of education to carry on with what she loves most – teaching children. 

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