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Davis Journal

Foxboro principal named UAESP Mentor of the Year

Jun 14, 2024 08:48AM ● By Becky Ginos
Foxboro Elementary Principal Jake Heidrich with other principals helps with a service project. Heidrich credits an amazing staff for helping him to make Foxboro a great school. Photo by Becky Ginos

Foxboro Elementary Principal Jake Heidrich with other principals helps with a service project. Heidrich credits an amazing staff for helping him to make Foxboro a great school. Photo by Becky Ginos

NORTH SALT LAKE—Foxboro Principal Jake Heidrich puts all of his energy into being a top notch principal but he also takes the time to mentor others as well. Heidrich was recognized for his efforts by the UAESP (Utah Association of Elementary School Principals) as the Elementary Mentor of the Year and was acknowledged for the achievement at the last school board meeting.

“It’s an honor,” said Heidrich. “The Davis Association of Elementary School Principals has different categories and I was voted in by my peers as a mentor. I take great pride in that.”

Heidrich was then nominated for the state award. “I was named the winner for the UAESP,” he said.”That’s a huge honor. It was cool for me because 10 years ago I won the state rookie award. Now fast forward and I won it as a mentor.”

As a mentor, Heidrich supports other principals who have been assigned to him. “You have to step up and help your peers,” he said. “That mentor piece is important.”

There has to be trust in the professional relationship, he said. “I try to make others feel comfortable to ask questions. I have the skill set for working with people and building those relationships. By no means am I an expert, it’s good to collaborate. What’s neat too is I will be formally assigned two principles to mentor this year.”

Heidrich has been teaching for 25 years and has been a principal for the last 10. He said his mom is the one who inspired him to go into education. “She ran a preschool out of her home; she taught me the love of teaching and for kids. She modeled it so perfectly. She was my mentor!” 

The mentors are selected by the elementary school director who asks new principals who they would like to work with, said Heidrich. “People say who they want to take that on. It’s unusual to have two mentees but when the director asked me I said ‘bring it on.’”

Elementary Director Traci Robbins is Heidrich’s supervisor but they worked together before. “As principals we worked together as colleagues,” he said. “When I got to Foxboro she became my supervisor. She’s very supportive. Being a principal is a difficult, challenging job. It’s rewarding but challenging.”

She knew moving to Foxboro was going to be a heavy lift, said Heidrich. “The school has gone through a lot.”

“I had the privilege of being Jake’s supervisor for this year,” said Robbins. “When I brought him to Foxboro he was tasked with a big and lofty task and that was building and sustaining a culture of trust, transparency, belonging and inclusion and don’t forget academic achievement. He killed it.”

That’s what makes this award special is he’s truly a mentor leader for his peers, principals, and interns to seek him out for some guidance on challenging issues on every level, she said. “He has such a knack for dealing with very difficult situations – mainly how to deal with people to have the human touch of respect and dignity.”

Heidrich gives much of the credit to the staff at Foxboro for the progress the school has made. “Last year we had 222 incidents of behavior and this year about 75,” he said. “It’s dropped a ton. It’s because of the wonderful collective professionals that are here for the kids. They care about the kids. I’m honored to work with them. A principal has enough challenges with other things. When you have a good group you’re working with it makes that better.”

Heidrich believes what makes him stand out a little bit is he tries to be himself. “I don’t put on any airs. In my office I have posters of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Motley Crue, Bob Marley and others. It helps me connect with the kids and the parents. It’s fun.”

When the DOJ made a visit, Heidrich said they told him his office was amazing. “It’s just real. When a parent comes in a little escalated they can connect, they say ‘Oh I like Elvis too.’”

Heidrich has some tattoos. “People connect in different ways,” he said. “They might have tattoos too and think ‘he’s just a regular guy, he’s normal.’ I’m just me. I do what I think is best for the school and I do it my way – authentic and transparent.”