When students arrive for opening day Sept. 8 in Sheffield-Sheffield Lake City Schools, there will be two new principals to greet them. Emily Adkins, who has served the past two years as Brookside Middle School principal, will become principal at the high school as well. Jennifer Martinez will take the helm at Knollwood School and the newly opened Forestlawn Early Learning Center.

Superintendent Mike Cook called the two women motivated leaders.

“They are not afraid to put in the hours needed to manage and lead our staff and students to new improvements.” he said. “Mrs. Martinez has the experience to deal with a diverse population and address literacy needs in our primary school buildings. Mrs. Adkins has proven over the past three years that she is able to improve staff morale, develop initiatives for students, set high expectations and foster relationships.”

The newest addition to the district's administrative team, Martinez comes from the Elyria City School District, where she spent most of the last decade as a reading intervention specialist working to close the reading gap with students in grades one through five. She taught first and third grades prior to that and has been a teacher since 2003.

Martinez explained her guiding focus is “do what's best for kids.” She said, “If you follow that mantra, you cannot go wrong.” She has already begun meeting with teachers at both buildings. She has no qualms about starting her first administrative job during a pandemic. “It's new to everyone so let's learn together. It's a unique scenario that provides a lot of opportunity. So we will embrace and move with it.”

The Lorain resident earned a bachelor's degree from Ashland University, a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Bowling Green State University and an administrative license through Concordia University. She also has a certificate for reading recovery from The Ohio State University.

Adkins joined the district three years ago as assistant principal at Brookside Middle School. She became principal two years ago and will now lead both the middle and high schools.

She noted she started at the middle school with the class of 2024 and now will go on to high school with that class. “It is very rewarding to witness my students growing up and being a major role in their support system.” She said many students reached out to share their excitement about her new assignment.

She acknowledged there is uncertainty about how school will look in the months ahead, but said she believes the district's teachers are prepared. “We have committed to a lot of professional development this summer so that we can provide excellent learning for our students, whether in person or online, when schools reopen.”

Prior to joining the Sheffield-Sheffield Lake District, she served as a school counselor for 11 years in the Lakewood City School District. She also taught in the Lorain City Schools for two years.

The Avon Lake resident earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and early childhood education from the University of Mount Union, a master's degree in counseling and human development with concentrations in school counseling and grief therapy from Walsh University and a master’s in educational administration from Ashland University.

Contact freelance writer Michele Murphy at Avonlakemurphy@gmail.com.

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