A new principal has been named to lead Hodge Elementary School beginning in the fall.
Patty Jensen, now principal at Cross Oaks Elementary School, will succeed Hodge Principal Sam Kelley, who is retiring at the end of the school year. The move was approved by the Denton school board this week.
Hodge has a dual-language program that teaches English to students who may not speak the language.
“I’m really excited about getting to lead at a dual-language school. That’s really my passion,” Jensen said this week. “I’m excited to build upon the things they have done under Sam’s leadership.
“Ultimately I want to continue a strong emphasis on community, involving the parents, and an unwavering focus on student learning.”
Jensen has worked five years for the district and was named principal at Cross Oaks Elementary, in Cross Roads, in May 2012. Previously, she served as assistant principal at Rivera Elementary School, as the district’s summer school principal for bilingual and English as a second language students, and as bilingual and ESL coordinator. She has also worked at schools in Illinois and Washington, according to the Denton school district.
Kelley has worked at Hodge her entire 12 years with Denton ISD — four as assistant principal and eight as principal. Her career as an educator spans 28 years, and she said that after years of caring for others’ children, she wants to commit more time to caring for her own.
Kelley said she’s appreciated working with “such fine people” and serving the students and families at Hodge.
“This is the greatest job in the world, and I’ve lived my dream,” she said.
Jensen, she said, will “do a fabulous job here.”
“Dr. Jensen is a fabulous person and a great advocate for children,” Kelley said. “She’s smart. She’s hardworking.”
Kelley said Jensen met with staff at Hodge on Wednesday and will return today to work with her on planning for the transition.
Jensen shared the news of her departure with Cross Oaks staff Wednesday following the announcement at the board meeting the previous evening, and she said she intended to share the news with parents at a PTA meeting Thursday.
She said she’s looking forward to the move to Hodge.
“I’m excited to get to know everyone and to get to be a part of their community,” Jensen said.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.