8 Questions for Jennifer Mercer,
Director of Gallup’s Uplift Community School
By Fowler Roberts
Q. What got you interested in applying for the Director’s position?
A. The charter for Uplift Community School is based on the Expeditionary Learning approach, which is comprised of many of the best research-based educational practices for children. When I read the charter, it aligned closely with my own educational philosophy and felt like a great match!
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. I enjoy working with diverse groups of people, I love learning new things, and I especially enjoy developing educational programs that nurture children to reach their full potential.
Q. What is the biggest challenge of your job?
A. At the moment, it’s locating the right facility for our students. In the long term, it’s providing the highest quality educational program possible for the students at Uplift Community School.
Q. What is your top priority?
A. My top priority is to create a learning environment for the students that will facilitate their fieldwork, case studies, and expeditions, helping them to become experts and citizen scholars. This will then enable them to contribute positively to the Gallup community.
Q. I understand that you are in the process of moving . . .
A. It’s a new adventure! I have enjoyed the people that I have met, and everyone has been very friendly and welcoming. I am looking forward to joining the community and learning about the Gallup area, history and culture.
Q. What do you enjoy doing in your off time?
A. I enjoy reading, movies, and playing with my young dog; however, spending time with my two wonderful children and family is truly my favorite pastime.
Q. What is your favorite movie?
A. My favorite movie is Meet Joe Black. It has a character in it that reminds me of my father, who passed away several years ago. This character was faced with a very difficult situation and handled it well and with integrity, as my father was known to do.
Q. If you could trade places with one famous person, who would it be and why?
A. One famous person that I admire is Sue Bredekamp. She has been a leader in Early Childhood Education for over twenty years and is the co-editor of the fundamentally important book, Developmentally Appropriate Practice. This book has had tremendous impact on the increased quality and expectations of appropriate educational practices for teachers working with young children.