This is the last in The Community Voice’s Irene Hilsendager’s series of introductory articles on the principals in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District and Penngrove. Today, Penngrove Elementary School Principal Amy Fadeji is featured.
Amy Fadeji is in her fifth year as principal of the Penngrove Elementary School. She was born in Yuba City, and raised in the Lake County town of Lakeport. Fadeji attended high school in Redlands, located in Southern California. She received her teaching credentials at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and moved to Mobile, Ala., teaching ESL students from kindergarten through the fifth grade with English being the second language. Fadeji also taught third-graders for three years while living in Mobile.
She pursued her master’s in education leadership at the University of Mississippi and also met her husband while living there.
Because her parents were still living in California and she and her husband were spending money for California trips, Fadeji and her husband decided to move back to the Bay Area. They settled in Novato because her husband works in San Rafael; and she taught at the Ross Valley School District for three years. It was during this time that she decided it was time to try her hand as a leader and go for principalship.
Penngrove Elementary was the first school she even considered. During her interview, she felt the first step she took on the Penngrove campus was a perfect fit. And of course Mrs. Larsen, the senior principal, took her under her wing and helped her get her feet on the ground. “When stepping on the campus there was such a warm and welcoming feeling,” she says, “it felt just like the small town I grew up in with the same teaching experiences.”
Fadeji said that everything just clicked and had that country feel.
“We ask ourselves why we do the things we do, could it get any better?” she said. “We try to make the students be the center nucleus and give them the best leadership opportunities.”
The Petaluma School District has seven elementary schools and all of the schools collaborate weekly with all of the other schools. The district gives the best support.
The Penngrove School was built in 1926 with 400 students from kindergarten to the sixth grade. Upon entering the seventh grade students will generally go to Kenilworth, Petaluma Junior High or transfer back to the Rohnert Park-Cotati Unified School District.
Penngrove Elementary was one of the first schools to have the presence of social media. They have 750 followers on Twitter and are constantly connected to the community to share all of the learning and field trips with families.
“Penngrove Elementary is an amazing community where we try our hardest to create magical moments for our students each and every day,” says Fadeji.
Penngrove Elementary received a grant from PG&E and installed new playground equipment and now solar panels are also being installed.
Fadeji says her school also has a genius hour with the fifth- and sixth-grade students learning to weld and sew blankets to donate to hospitals. She says she is extremely proud of the fact they also support a “buddy” bench. This bench consoles those who are lonely or sad with an older buddy being there for support.
Another feather in Fadeji’s hat is that she was the recipient of a Rotary scholarship and her father still belongs to the Chico Rotary Club.