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South Heart elementary principal is committed to her students

Jessica Geis, elementary principal at South Heart Public School, is committed to her students and making them better each day. Geis has been at South Heart Public School for 11 years with the last five of those as elementary principal. Geis grew ...

Jessica Geis is the elementary principal at South Heart Public School. Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press
Jessica Geis is the elementary principal at South Heart Public School. Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press

Jessica Geis, elementary principal at South Heart Public School, is committed to her students and making them better each day.

Geis has been at South Heart Public School for 11 years with the last five of those as elementary principal. Geis grew up in Dickinson and moved back to the area after attending Minnesota State University in Moorhead.

Geis started off as a kindergarten teacher for six years, her last group of kindergarteners she had are now fifth graders. She said the transition from being a kindergarten teacher to a principal was a good one.

"I have a really good staff," she said.

The elementary school now has around 190 kids, Geis said. When she started out there were just over 100 kids, so the numbers have grown since the oil boom. She said they have also had several students open enroll in the school as well.

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"We've been growing every year," she said. "We've grown quite a bit this year too."

Geis said they were thankful class sizes didn't jump too significantly, which allowed them to adjust a little easier.

"There were times when our classes we were expecting them to be smaller but then all of a sudden after a couple of weeks they grew more than we thought they would. But for the most part the school has been pretty good at adjusting right away and making the changes that we needed to make," she said.

Many people also choose to move to a small town like South Heart, rather than Dickinson, in order to experience what it's like to live in a small town.

"I think a lot of people like the smaller communities," Geis said. "I think as long as housing is available then they'll move to the smaller communities."

Geis' day-to-day typically includes meeting with teachers and students and making sure everything is going well.

"I like to be out. I like to be visible and be able to interact with the students all the time," she said.

South Heart Public School superintendent Calvin Dean said Geis is a "very, very good" principal who has a great working relationship with her staff and the students. Dean said he works very closely with the school principals at South Heart.

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"She's an extremely hard worker and is extremely conscientious," he said. "She's doing a great job as our elementary principal."

In addition to working with students and staff, Dean said Geis is also the elementary interventionist, which means she works with kids who may be struggling in the classroom on various subjects.

"Part of her job is to take those kids out of the classroom and work with them either one-on-one or in small groups just to give them extra assistance in whatever subject area they may be struggling in," Dean said. "She has a very good relationship with those students."

Geis said this year has been a "really good school year" and they look forward to finishing out the year strong.

"We're excited to see what the continued growth will have for us," she said. "We're going to start planning for the school year for next year and staffing needs and classroom needs."

At the end of the day, Geis said working with kids is her favorite part of her job.

"I enjoy getting to see them every day, walking through the halls and getting to talk to them," she said. "... South Heart School is a great school community, we have great staff and the people here really care. They're really good, hard workers and great people to work with and our kids here are awesome."

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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