Principal Spotlight: Jeff Beickel

  • What is your education background?

    I graduated from ASU in 2012, and began my teaching career at Power Ranch Elementary. While at Power, I taught 8th Grade Math, Algebra 1, and Geometry. When Sossaman opened, I transferred there, and continued to teach 8th Grade Math and Algebra 1 for two years. After entering the education realm, I immediately knew I wanted to explore the leadership realm, so I started my Master’s program in Educational Leadership while I was a first year teacher. Additionally, I coached football, basketball, and track at the varsity level at Higley, and supported with basketball at Sossaman.

    Upon the completion of my Master’s degree, I was hired to be the Title One Coordinator, and Math Coach at Power Ranch Elementary. I spent a year in that role, while also gaining additional experience in the leadership realm.

    When Bridges opened, I was hired to be the Assistant Principal. I spent one year in that role under Sherry Richards. Sherry was promptly promoted to become the Executive Director of Elementary Education, and I was promoted to Principal.

    This is currently my 7th year as the Principal of Bridges Elementary School. I feel exceptionally lucky to work with the amazing staff, students, parents, and community members here. 

    What are some of your key priorities as principal?

    This could be a lengthy response, but I’ll keep it centered on our school’s why, which is “At Bridges Elementary School, we believe in equipping all students with the skills they need to thrive in the ever-changing 21st century workplace.” There are so many factors that go into accomplishing this goal, but ultimately I want all of our students to leave our school as the best possible version of themselves both academically and character-wise. 

    Is there a program or initiative at your school you are particularly proud of?

    Bridges was built upon a foundation of utilizing Project-Based Learning to enhance learning experiences for students, resulting in bringing the content to life. This mentality holds true today, as the vision has become a reality in the multiple ways we provide students the opportunity to engage with the engineering process. 

    What is your philosophy when it comes to working with parents and students?

    Strong relationships between parents, the community and the school are integral for student success. Forming and maintaining positive relationships with all of our parents is always a priority for me, as it results in a team-oriented approach for student growth and achievement. I also want parents to feel comfortable and confident in sending their students to our school, as I know there are many options in our area. 

    How has the previous bond/override investments helped your school?

    Bridges was built with bond money. I can’t think of a larger reason we have benefited from the bond being passed, as it would be tragic if Bridges didn’t exist. Regarding the override investments, our students have benefited immensely from having the additional funds in our district. At the forefront of my mind is the ability to retain stellar educators, and having full-time specials teachers on our campus, and keeping class sizes reasonable. Our specials team is an integral part of everything we do here, and I know our students absolutely love working with them daily. In short, the override has allowed our school to provide an incredibly well-rounded educational experience for our students. 

    How do you emphasize character as part of the overall education being offered?

    At HTA, our students employ the tenants of R.A.I.S.E. (Respect, Accountability, Integrity, Safety, and Excellence). We celebrate students each week and then monthly based on teacher nomination. We also include our staff in those monthly celebrations. Our students understand how to be a respectful and compassionate part of our school community and show it each and every day. It just takes a couple of minutes walking through the breezeways of our campus to see this in action.

    What is one thing that stands out to you about the Higley Unified School District?

    Higley has been my home for my entire career, and I couldn’t imagine a better place to grow as an educator. I believe Higley strongly values its employees, always makes decisions regarding what is best for students, and consistently elicits input from its community. Higley is an incredible place to learn and work. 

    What is one thing you wish more members of the community knew about your school?

    We are one of the top-performing schools in the entire state, however, our student growth is also exceptionally high. This is calculated based on individual student performance compared to similar performing peers across the state. Year after year, our growth scores are indicative of the strong instruction happening school-wide. I also feel as though it’s indicative of the amazing relationships our teachers build with their students and families. 

    How has your school embraced Higley Unified Strategic Plan specifically the #higleyhelps challenge?

    Our school has always done a tremendous job of emphasizing the need to give back to the community. We partner with the House of Refuge throughout the year, and our STUCO organizes various opportunities to give back to those in need.