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Schrock proves that one can come home

In the world of education, Jason Schrock has come full circle ­– and he couldn’t be happier.

The principal of Martha P. King Elementary grew up in Boulder City and did things kids have done here for decades like riding bikes in the desert, playing parks and rec sports and hanging out with friends. Today, he gets to see not only the children at the school do the same things but his own kids as well.

Schrock and his family moved from Ohio to Boulder City when he was 3 and, in fact, his parents still live in the same house.

“I don’t think you fully appreciate Boulder City until you become an adult, especially when you become a parent and move back,” he said. “It was great growing up here and I appreciated the community. It allowed us to be well-rounded, whether it was something related to the arts or sports.”

As a member of the BCHS class of 1997, Schrock excelled at baseball and he was on the state championship team his senior year. He also played basketball and tennis for the Eagles. Tennis is still an active hobby of his.

Following high school, he attended UNLV but his focus originally was not on education but rather chemistry. But that quickly changed.

“I would come out of the labs every night and nearby was a daycare center at UNLV,” he said. “Here we were, feeling horrible in a lab all day and we’d walk out and you see these people playing with the kids and that made me realize more and more that this what I wanted to do and where I was supposed to be.”

King Elementary opened its doors in 1991 and by that time Schrock had already gone through Andrew J. Mitchell Elementary and was attending Garrett Junior High.

“The funny thing is, I can remember riding bikes through the desert where King now sits,” he said.

After graduating from UNLV in 2002 with a degree in elementary education, Schrock started teaching at Harvey Dondero Elementary in Las Vegas and was there for seven years, teaching first, third and fifth grades.

“I loved all my years there,” he said. “I think those seven years in teaching really helped prepare me to be an elementary school principal because it’s the spectrum of all the years. I loved my time in first grade. There’s nothing better than seeing that light come on when a child learns to read and picks up that book and gets excited to share it with you.”

Schrock said because of his love for teaching, being an administrator wasn’t on his radar. In fact, he prefers to be looked upon as lead teacher more so than principal and instead of a boss, a colleague.

“It’s about a sharing of ideas,” he said. “When you get a bunch of people in a room, there’s good collaboration. That’s one of the big changes here at King. We don’t teach in isolation anymore. We don’t teach on an island. Our grade level teams meet every week and talk through different strategies that they feel can help the kids. That’s the future of education.”

As for what he enjoys most about his job, Schrock said he loves the interaction with the kids and getting them excited about coming to school and fired up for the day. He also enjoys the motivational aspect as he encourages them to not only be the best student they can be but the best human being.

Schrock was principal at Don E. Hayden Elementary School in North Las Vegas for five years before being named principal at King to start the 2018-2019 school year.

“There’s a tremendous amount of pride for me,” he said of returning to be principal in his hometown. “I feel like I know what the community expects from this school. For me, I look at this as a form of service to the community and also for my family. If this school is successful, it means my kids are getting the best possible education that we can provide for them as well as kids in the community.

“So, there’s a tremendous amount of pride but there’s also a bit of pressure because I want the success for them as much as I want it for my own kids. Coming back has really been a dream come true, especially as a parent.”

As the father of three children with his wife, Amber, their daughter is in second grade, middle son attends King and the oldest is at Garrett but attended King. So, when they see him in the hallways, do they call him Mr. Schrock or Dad?

“They call me Dad,” he said with a wide grin. “They understand the boundaries. But (pointing to the other side of his office) if you open that drawer, you won’t find files but rather snacks. If they spend time with me before or after school, I want this office to be a place they remember and enjoy.”

Schrock ended by saying, “I’m so grateful to be in this position. I’m thankful for the trust the community has in me. I have felt that. I’m working as hard as I can for these kids and I hope people know that. I want the same for their kids as I want for mine.”

Ron Eland is editor of the Boulder City Review. He can be reached at reland@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523.

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