By Martie Thompson
Allison Olson is energized by her new job as principal of Julington Creek Elementary. She thinks working with elementary children is a gift and she is grateful and excited to get to do her job every day.
Olson is an adaptable person as a result of making many moves with her family as a child. She graduated from high school in Irvine, California and went to her parents’ alma mater, Brigham Young University, where she met her future husband, Steve. Olson graduated with two bachelor’s degrees, in Elementary Education and Special Education. Her first job was as a special education teacher in Salt Lake City.
Much like her childhood, Olson made many moves with her husband as he pursued his career as an FBI agent. Along the way, she found jobs teaching fifth grade and gifted middle school children.
The Olsons are parents of three college-age children and one son who has recently graduated and begun his own teaching career, following in his mother’s footsteps.
- How did your career bring you to Julington Creek Elementary?
Steve and I moved here from Denver, Colorado. It was in Denver that I decided I wanted to get into school administration, so I earned my master’s degree and served as an assistant principal for four years and a principal for four more years. Steve was an FBI agent and looking for a new opportunity. He was recruited by the PGA Tour as their head of security about this time last year. I met with the superintendents from both Duval and St. Johns counties and I felt a special connection with [St. Johns County Superintendent] Dr. Joyner. I was happy to accept the offer to be principal of Julington Creek Elementary.
- What do you consider the most important part of your job?
The people. My philosophy is if people are happy at work, then kids are happy learning here and parents are happy. I promote a culture of appreciation and safety for all. You can’t tell people enough how much you appreciate their hard work. It is all for the kids and everyone is helping them reach their potential. Julington Creek is great because everyone who works here, from the staff to the teachers, has this as a common goal. I’m happy to be a part of it — i just jumped on board and I hope to keep the ball rolling.
3.What do you enjoy most about your job?
The kids! It is a wonderful thing to be an elementary school principal. I walk down the hallway and the kids are so excited to see me. I think it is important to be visible. I tell them I am so happy they are here at school and working hard. Kids say and do the funniest things. This is where I get my energy.
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
Steve and I love the outdoors. We love to fish and he just taught me how to fly fish up at the Timucuan Preserve. We shoot arrows with our bows at a target in our backyard. We enjoy boating, wakeboarding and waterskiing. I love the sun and basically will be outside doing almost anything in the warm sun. We are loving the weather here. I am planning to revamp my wardrobe and clean out my closets, as I no longer need wool coats and boots here in Florida. I am also a big reader, mostly of historical fiction.
- Who is your favorite superhero?
I’d have to say Spiderman. Earlier this year, our students met their fundraising goal of $40,000 and so as a reward I rappelled off the back building of the school. I wore a Spiderman shirt and even hung upside down. The kids thought it was great. I think it is important to have fun and do something memorable — you can’t be serious all the time.
Photo by Martie Thompson
Allison Olson at her desk at Julington Creek Elementary School.