Kelsey Kendrick

Kelsey Kendrick is a paraprofessional at Jamaica Elementary School who is working to earn a degree in elementary education. She recently learned that she won a four-year scholarship award from the Arizona Rural Schools Association

She hasn’t been fishing, but Kelsey Kendrick has a lot of fish to fry.

The wife and mother of two – with another one on the way – works full time as a paraprofessional at Jamaica Elementary School. She’s now in her fourth year in that role.

But it doesn’t end there. Kendrick, 31, is also a Grand Canyon University student, working to earn her teaching degree.

Even with all that on her plate, Kendrick made room for fantastic news. She won the Rosie Rubio scholarship from the Arizona Rural Schools Association. The award is $1,000 annually for four years.

“I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was in kindergarten,” Kendrick said, noting that she plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and later pursue her master’s in special education.

Jamaica Principal Andrea Helart nominated Kendrick for the scholarship by submitting a letter of recommendation to the Arizona Rural Schools Association. In part, the letter said of Kendrick:

“She is a committed staff member who always prioritizes student needs and academic learning…she has a gift with children. I would feel lucky for the privilege to hire her as a certified employee when she finishes her credentials, and I hope to get the chance to do so.”

Helart noted that she was motivated to nominate Kendrick because she’s seen how in tune she is with students at the school while juggling raising a family and working to earn her teaching degree.

“She’s amazing and she is amazing with our kids,” Helart said.

Several paraprofessionals with the Lake Havasu Unified School District are following the same aspirational path as Kendrick.

“We have 14 classified staff members who are in school to move into various positions including teachers, psychologists and speech and language pathologists,” said Jaime Festa-Daigle. She is the personnel director for the school district.

“We currently have 19 certified (employees) and one administrator that started in classified positions.”

The Arizona Rural Schools Association will award Kendrick with her scholarship at its annual conference in Flagstaff on Friday. It will be a red-letter day for the local school district. At that same conference, Roseann Hagen will presented with an award as Mohave County Teacher of the Year. She is a first grade teacher at Smoketree Elementary School.

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