(Editor's Note: Amaiana Sajjad is a senior at North Plainfield High School and an intern with TAPinto North Plainfield.)
NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Jackie Fields her tenure with the North Plainfield School District in 2001 and, over the course of the past 16 years, has served as an elementary teacher, counselor, dean, and in 2016, was named an assistant principal at the high school.
Fields earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education and English as well as a master’s degree in school counseling and guidance service from Kean University. She was hired as an elementary teacher at East End in 2001 and, over the next five years, taught second and fourth graders. She then went on to serve - from 2006 to 2012 - as a counselor at East End. From 2010 to 2012 Fields obtained a masters of counseling, principal, director and supervisor certifications and was named dean of students at North Plainfield Middle School (NPMS).
Fields served in this role for three years and then took on the dean of students position at North Plainfield High School (NPHS). Fields served in that role until the start of the 2016-2017 school year when she was named assistant principal of NPHS.
“My transition from being Dean of Students to now being an assistant principal was actually pretty smooth because I took it one step at a time as I moved from teacher, to counselor, to then a dean,” said Fields, noting that as dean of students, she was responsible for discipline, attendance, and school activities. “I dealt more with the students as dean, unlike now my responsibility is more towards the teachers and the education development process in the classrooms.”
As assistant principal, Fields still handles many of the responsibilities she did as a dean, however, more of her focus is now on the teachers. She conducts classroom observations and takes notes on the teacher and the course being taught and then advises and helps provide teachers with the resources they need in order to better the development of the class. Through her role as an administrator, Fields is a part of many district committees, including the Character Education Committee, a committee to address student attendance, and several others.
“Time management is one of the toughest parts about the job. I need to observe and make sure I write those observations to see what those teachers need to succeed in their classrooms,” said Fields. “Then, there are the board meetings and always knowing you have to keep everything in the building normal regarding discipline and there are always students who I have to meet. There is a lot to do with very limited time, however it’s a progressive approach for the better of the community.”
Fields said she sees herself as an assistant principal who is ‘fair, consistent, and diligent.’
"I have great communication with the students who come into my office, so I have to keep moving with all that's going on, but still reach my potential when it comes to serving the students with my attention and the staff members with my advice,” said Fields.
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