R-2 directors hire Dixon assistant Jared Tharp as new Gerald Elementary School principal

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 3/11/20

Following March 5 interviews to replace Gerald Elementary School (GES) Principal Jennifer Hall, the Gasconade County R-2 Board of Education hired Jared Tharp with a 6-0 vote.

“Upon accepting …

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R-2 directors hire Dixon assistant Jared Tharp as new Gerald Elementary School principal

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Following March 5 interviews to replace Gerald Elementary School (GES) Principal Jennifer Hall, the Gasconade County R-2 Board of Education hired Jared Tharp with a 6-0 vote.

“Upon accepting this position, there has been an outpouring of support from the current building principal, board members, and staff who have reached out to welcome me to the community, Tharp said. “I want to dive in and immerse myself in the community and start by becoming a member.”

As a child from a military family, the bulk of Tharp’s childhood was spent in rural areas, but since he graduated from Dixon High School, the area holds a special place for him. He has been employed since August 2018 as assistant principal of the Dixon Elementary School and currently resides with his wife and two children in Rolla.

“In my current role as assistant principal in Dixon — I looked at that as a launching pad,” Tharp explained. “Their building and district leadership is outstanding and working as a member of that team — it worked well to take advantage of the leadership in the room and my leadership style to work with people around me.”

Tharp said he hopes to bring those leadership skills with him to Gerald.

“I don’t look at Gerald as a launching pad, but as a landing zone. From everything I have heard, this is a community with very deep roots and support for the school district. It sounds like I share those values, and I have no rush to move on. I am ready to land here and get to work.”

He also has connections in the Owensville and Cuba areas.

“If I am going to expand in a leadership role, it is good to have equal amounts of involvement and engagement in the school,” Tharp said.

As a former teacher, substitute teacher, basketball and football coach, Tharp has had experience in various teaching and leadership roles, but says the Gasconade R-2 School District was a good fit before he applied for the position.

“When I first apply for a position, I go on the website to see what they are about,” Tharp said. “I read core values and mission statements. Here it is like I am reading my personal core values on the district’s website.”

He hasn’t been to the GES campus yet and plans to observe before implementing any changes to the school.

“In speaking with the current administration and school board, they don’t have a wish to make immediate changes,” Tharp said. “They are happy with the state of the elementary school. But I am not one to sit idle, and improvements can always be made. I may do a needs assessment early on, but it will be with me and the district’s leadership.”

Tharp said for him, it goes back to servant leadership and any decision he makes in conjunction with other administrators should be what is best for the kids.

“If that is a program that needs to be implemented or go away, is it best for our team or our kids?”  he explained. “My decision is very predictable and if it is what is best for the kids, it’s what I am going to do.”

The school and staff have been fortunate with the current principal, Tharp said.

“She (Hall) has reached out to me with faith and support and (asked) if there is anything that I need. I look forward to getting guidance from her early on and continuing the excellent work that she has done,” he said. “My number one goal is becoming a member of the community and goal two is to express my appreciation for those who have expressed appreciation for myself.”

The new administrator is an advocate for education and continuing education. He graduated from Dixon High School in 2007. He attended Drury University and received an associate’s degree in general studies in 2010. He graduated from Drury University with a bachelor degree in elementary education in 2012 and earned a master’s degree in 2915 from Missouri Baptist University in education administration for grades K through the eighth grade.

He completed his specialist degree in education administration in 2018 from William Woods University and is presently working to complete an educational doctorate program through Lindenwood University.

He also holds certificates from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for elementary education in grades first through sixth from Drury University; physical education for kindergarten through the twelfth grade from Drury University; and principal for grades kindergarten through twelve from Missouri Baptist University.

Tharp, his wife, Alissa, and their two girls Avery, 3, and Reagan, seven months, plan to move into the district this fall. The family owns their home in Rolla, and plans to take their time to get it ready to sell.

“The team at GES has a reputation of excellence,” Tharp said. “I hope to help enhance that, and provide a voice for telling our school’s story.”

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