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“As a child, school was my safe place to learn, get involved, and discover that my dreams could become realities,” said Heinrich. “It is out of that motivation I wanted to influence and inspire others to see a world of possibilities.”

Heinrich got her start teaching in a traditional school environment, then taught through a virtual school where she also served as the assistant director. This opportunity opened her eyes to new possibilities in education and led to her become the principal at JK8 for the past four years.

“My experience with an online school taught me about virtual education, but having teaching experience in a brick and mortar school showed me that a hybrid model, with some online and some in-person learning, is actually a better model,” Heinrich said. “Students need some face-to-face time with teachers for a more successful experience.”

Heinrich’s team, who nominated her for this award, appreciates her leadership style and commitment to the students. Her kindness, positive working environment, and never-ending support for them and the students were highlighted in their nomination submittal.

What she loves most about her job is that she gets to be a dream maker, envisioning the possibilities for kids and providing the experiences to help them succeed. 

JK8 serves the needs of a variety of students: those who desire flexibility in their lives to explore sports and other passions, those who are seeking a non-traditional educational environment, and those who may not be able to attend in-person learning due to an illness, etc. Providing a safe environment no matter the student’s need, Heinrich says, is satisfying and motivating.

“I love that we provide this option for students,” added Heinrich. “I encourage my staff to take risks and try new things so we can continually make this an even better experience for our students.”