Jane Byrne is a District 281 veteran. For 20 years, Byrne has been involved, in one way or another, with Robbinsdale Area Schools.
This year, Byrne is the new principal at Noble Elementary School, which is a change of pace from her previous principal role at Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School. With a student population of roughly 400 children, which is almost half the size of some of the other ISD 281 elementary schools, Byrne said that she's finding time to really get to know her students.
"I'm able to get into the classrooms and say 'hi' to the students," Byrne said. "I'm getting to know the kids and their families personally."
It's the sense of community that Byrne loves most about her new job at Noble Elementary School. Earlier this month, Byrne was welcomed to the city by Golden Valley's City Council members, a community gesture that she was pleasantly surprised by.
"I have never seen a city so welcoming and so friendly," Byrne said. "You can just feel the sense of community here."
Community engagement is one of the values that drives a few programs at Noble Elementary School, including the creation of a school rain garden. By focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Byrne said that Noble students of every grade level are working to create the garden in partnership with community experts, though those experts have not been chosen yet.
"We have a big STEM initiative going on at Noble," Byrne said. "We worked this summer with a large group of staff members and we have included the creation of the garden in different pieces of curriculum throughout the grade levels."
Mostly, Byrne is excited to help children at Noble "reach for the stars," a message that is plastered across her office wall.
"I want to focus on student learning and staff learning," Byrne said, noting that almost half of Noble's staff is new this year. "The synergy here is really amazing."