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Mrs. Norell’s Journey to Finding Balance as the First Female Principal of GHS

With the departure of Dr. Brummett, Glendora High School has recently undergone a major change in administration. Former vice principal Jamie Norell has since filled his role, becoming GHS’ first ever female principal.

Norell comes from a family of educators with both her father and grandfather being administrators before her. Initially, she avoided a career in education, not wanting to simply follow in her predecessors’ footsteps.

However, upon entering the field, Norell fell in love with everything it had to offer and immediately knew she was following her passion.

In her transition from assistant principal to principal, Norell has taken on new responsibilities and has shifted her focus to different goals. In addition to her previous work in deciding the curriculum that students engage in, one of her new tasks is monitoring the culture of GHS’ campus.

“My job is absolutely to support academics and to support extracurriculars, but to also make sure the culture of our campus is positive and functioning at the same time. So, that would be making sure kids feel safe and kids feel like a part of this campus and have the things they want on this campus, obviously within reason, the types of classes, the types of activities, and making sure teachers feel supported,” Norell explained.

Coming into her job as an administrator came with its fair share of challenges and apprehensions for Norell. Although she now knows how to navigate it quite well, her knowledge didn’t come to her easily.

"I think you’re always questioning yourself, and that's hard because I'm always worried I'm not giving enough as a mom or I'm not giving enough here as an employee of the district,” Norell shared. “I’ve learned to kind of check myself and just know, ‘Okay, I'm happy. I'm comfortable with this, and as long as my family is comfortable, I have to not be so hard on myself.’”

Even though she had been working closely with previous GHS principals and came from a family of educators, Norell’s biggest concern stepping into her new role as principal was finding balance between work and family.

"I think any working woman goes through wondering how to stay a mom and be there for my husband and kids while juggling it all with everything this position deserves and all the people this position serves,” said Norell.

Learning how to carry herself with grace and not be as hard on herself has been a long and continuing lesson in Norell’s experience. Norell shared moments of guilt she used to feel picking up her kids from Goddard in professional attire and her worries about being judged for not appearing as attentive. Ultimately, Norell hopes women can give themselves the same grace as they decide their life paths.

“If you choose to be a stay at home mom that’s a phenomenal decision and you need to be comfortable with that and not feel like that’s not a successful decision,” said Norell. “If you choose to be a full time working mom, that’s also a fabulous thing so it’s knowing that you have to be comfortable in your skin and confident but follow your passion wherever it takes you.”


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