BARNEGAT, NJ – Many households may have self-appointed principals in their “home” remote learning districts. In the meantime, the Board of Education is continuing to get things ready for the 2020-2021 grade banding moves. When children return to school next year , they’ll meet the preschool’s first principal.
At the Lillian M. Dunfee School, three and four-year-old preschoolers will take over the building and grounds. Meanwhile, their new principal is no stranger to Barnegat schools.
Not everyone might associate the name with the face. Jennifer Ashworth started her own education at Barnegat’s Collins School. Her evolution makes her one of Barnegat’s many success stories.
“While I was a little girl at Collins, I told my parents I was going to be a teacher,” shared the newly appointed principal of the Dunfee School.
Jennifer kept to her pledge. When she completed her elementary education degree at Georgian Court, she began her teaching career at the Collins School. First, she taught a Kindergarten Plus class, moved on to teach ELA to fourth graders, and led fifth-grade classes.
Ultimately, Jennifer became Mrs. Bobby Froehlich and started a family. The couple has two daughters, Rylee, 6, and Reese, 3. Jennifer also continued her education at Georgian Court to achieve a master’s degree in Administration and Leadership.
When Barnegat received the grant to offer preschool, Jennifer applied to the program. She is currently the Supervisor of Curriculum, Instruction, and Preschool Programming. For Jennifer, moving all of her little people in one location is a reason for excitement.
“I think the state did a smart thing by offering public education earlier,” shared Jennifer. “It’s not just about academics. Children also learn social and emotional skills. Part of our work means teaching younger ones to regulate their emotions and work with peers.”
According to Jennifer, the Dunfee School will have thirty classrooms. She says there are many benefits to all of the preschool children in the same building. Jennifer already has plans to set up sensory walks in the hallways and tailor school assemblies to three and four-year-old children. The playground will also be revamped to make it more age-appropriate.
Jennifer’s enthusiasm and love for education is palpable. She alternates with using words like amazing and awesome about her students and their parents. And, she also has great respect for the teachers and staff that will soon call Dunfee their home.
“I’ve found that the preschool teachers across the district all have great ideas and cool things to share,” Jennifer said. “They’ll now have a better opportunity to pop in classes and discuss what works best.”
According to Superintendent of Schools Brian Latwis, leadership and managerial qualities are critical qualities in selecting who heads up individual programs. As far as he’s concerned, Jennifer excels in both.
“Jennifer is very enthusiastic and truly believes in the program,” shared Latwis. “People want to be part of her vision.”
Since the preschool program is part of a grant from the state, many minute details must be followed. “Jennifer is exceptional in addressing them all and finding the right answers,” continued Latwis. “We’re all excited to see the program grow with its own location so that experiences are maximized for children just starting school.”