Though Jessi Freers has only just become the principal of the Muscatine Early Learning Center, her experience working with young children goes back many years. Even as a young adult, Freers knew she had a passion for working with little ones and took the Muscatine Community Y’s babysitting class in her early teens. When Freers got to college, she initially thought she wanted to study social work and help children that way. However, her interests shifted, and she decided she could best help kids as an elementary school teacher. Especially passionate about the youngest students, she also got an endorsement in early childhood education as well.
After college, Freers became a teacher in the Muscatine Community School District (MCSD). She taught kindergarten and first grade at Washington Elementary School (her alma mater) for eleven years. A rewarding time for Freers, she deeply enjoyed the chance to help her students learn about the world around them.
Once Freers completed her master’s degree in educational leadership, she became MCSD’s Early Childhood Coordinator, overseeing the district’s preschool programming. Freers found she enjoyed working together with teachers and the community to make sure that students had the best learning experience possible. From there, Freers went on to serve as the principal of Grant Elementary School, gaining even more leadership experience.
When the Muscatine Early Learning Center needed its first principal, Freers jumped at the chance. Ever since she had begun studying educational leadership, she knew she wanted to work as a principal for preschool and possibly lower elementary students. Now in her ideal job, Freers could not feel happier. “I’ll probably be the happiest principal because I get to spend my whole day working with preschool kids!” she enthused.
While working as the Early Childhood Coordinator, Freers also joined the board of the Flickinger Learning Center (FLC). She elaborated, “I had an unwritten rule to serve as a community liaison on different boards.” Freers found a lot to admire at (FLC) and has continued to serve on its board for the last six years, including one year as board president. During this time, Freers has taken pride in how FLC helps some of the most at risk students in the community and creates a safe and welcoming environment for them each day after school. “They don’t turn anybody away, and they care so much about the kids. Every decision they make has nothing but the kids in mind,” Freers stated. Additionally, Freers values the partnership that FLC has recently developed with Quality Transport to provide transportation to students who have no other way to get to the tutoring site.
Throughout her many roles in Muscatine, Freers has always felt that the support of the community has helped make her work possible. She said she loves, “the sense of community we have. . .. When I think of Muscatine, I think of good people.” As Freers starts her new role as principal of the Muscatine Early Learning Center, she will continue to help grow her community and keep it a welcoming place.