Garrett principal leaves legacy of success as she prepares to retire

The end of this school year marks the start of a new era for Garrett Junior High School, one without its longtime principal Jamey Hood.

Hood, who has been principal at Garrett for 15 years, is retiring.

“I would like to thank the Boulder City community, the businesses, staff, just everybody,” she said. “It’s been a good run.”

Hood leaves behind a legacy of teamwork and academic excellence at the school and in the community.

“I’m a teacher at heart,” she said. “As a principal, you’re the teacher of the teachers … . So I enjoy motivating the teachers to be the best they can be and helping the students to be the best they can be.

“I’m most proud of the fact we all work together as a team for the kids … . It’s always been a high-performing school,” Hood added.

She said she firmly believes that her success, and the school’s success, is about what everyone else at the school is doing.

“I hire well and get them what they need and get out of their way and let them do their job,” she said.

“Her leadership is amazing,” said Michelle Kazel, eighth-grade science teacher. “She gives us direction and the autonomy to pursue it.”

One of Garrett’s teachers thinks Hood’s legacy will also be the family-friendly culture she created at the school.

“Her motto is family first and I had my first son my first year here” said Amanda Hallum, who teaches choir and broadcasting. “I was scared to death of being a working mom. The only way I was able to make the balance work is because of the culture she created.”

Hallam said in addition to Hood’s motto of family first, she will remember another of her sayings, “Is it best for the kids?”

“I think that will be her legacy at the school,” she added.

Teacher Suzi Gates said she will miss “everything” about Hood.

“She’s by far the best boss I’ve ever had, both professional and personal … . I value her as a boss and a friend,” she said.

Hood said the parents and Boulder City community have helped with Garrett’s success by being responsive to the students’ needs and involved at the school.

She said she’s retiring for several reasons: She’s given many years to education; she wants to be able to travel any time and she has a great-granddaughter on the way with whom she wants to spend time.

“That’s exciting for me,” she said. “I plan to spoil that generation.”

She said she also plans to participate in more activities at the 55 and older community where she lives and volunteer in some way to help women become more financially independent and savvy.

Despite no longer being at Garrett, Hood said she is confident the school’s success will continue and she wants the staff to continue doing the great job they’ve been doing.

“It’s a great staff,” she said. “They’ll be fine with whoever comes in because they’re confident. They’re great teachers. They’re team players.”

Before becoming a principal, Hood was taught math at Garrett and served as dean and assistant principal. She was also assistant principal for one year at Cannon Junior High School.

In 2017, she was named Nevada’s Middle School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

For those who want to see her before her last day June 21, Hood is holding an open house from 4-8 p.m. May 29 at The Tap, 704 Nevada Way.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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