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Meet the new principal at Centennial

Jocelyn Sims’ focuses on rejuvenation

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Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013 3:45 am

For many people change in their lives seems to be inevitable, potentially leading to opportunities they would have never thought of.

For Jocelyn Sims change came about when she and her family were uprooted from their lives in Minnesota and moved to Arizona.

Sims and her family moved from Minnesota this past May when her husband, a recruiter for the United States Navy, was transferred to Arizona due to a job opportunity.

As Sims and her family were gearing up to move, Sims began looking for jobs in a school district and stumbled upon the Kyrene School District.

She applied for the principal position at Kyrene Centennial Middle School, and says she was very blessed to get an interview.

During that time Sims visited Arizona to prepare herself for her new home, speaking with representatives from the school and the district.

“My husband and I came out a couple of times to get some stuff aligned like housing, where he was going to be working, where I was potentially going to be working, and where we wanted to put our family,” Sims said.

Although Sims is still fairly new to her principal position at Centennial Middle School, this isn’t her first rodeo when it comes to being the right person for the job.

Back in Minnesota Sims was the principal for seven years at an inner-city school called Battle Creek Middle School.

She said she loved the experience while working in the St. Paul Public School District back in Minnesota, and was a teacher for some years at an elementary school prior to becoming the assistant principal then the principal for Battle Creek Middle School.

During her career Sims mostly taught sixth-graders, teaching in all subject areas.

“I was very much ingrained of being a part of the St. Paul School District, and I was very sad to leave even though I was very excited about the new adventure that was ahead,” Sims said.

Moving away from her home was an adventure in itself for Sims due to the fact she had never lived anywhere else but Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The transition from the Midwest home she once knew to the desert home she has grown to love has been an experience that was great as it could possibly be, Sims said.

She said the people from her husband’s job and the staff from the Kyrene School District were so supportive during their moving process hooking them up with housing contacts and information they needed about the area.

New job

Since Centennial Middle School has been in session for a week now, Sims said her experience as the new principal has been great considering the positive vibe that spreads across the campus.

During the first week when teachers returned Sims explained they did a lot of hard and important work, focusing on how business is to be conducted at the school.

Getting the faculty members on the same page and making sure that people “talked the same talk and walked the same walk” was focused on during the first week of teachers’ arrival, Sims said.

She also put together a leadership team consisting of a group of teachers to better assist her transition into the school and to develop a system on moving forward with the school year.

Sims said a lot of it consisted of rejuvenating the staff at Centennial Middle School, which she believes a spark was needed to focus on coming together as a whole.

“It has just permeated out on the campus,” Sims said.

The rejuvenation throughout the school seemed to be felt most during the school’s Meet the Teacher/Curriculum night where Sims was stopped by families explaining that there was positivity felt from teachers during their presentations of the new school year.

Sims said the students are also catching a feel of the positive vibe, feeling the energy from enthusiastic instructors.

“It just continues and has been a great flow.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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