Kloefkorn principal’s love for education sparked at an early age

Kloefkorn Elementary Principal Shayna Cook was predestined to be an educator. 

“Education is my blood,” Cook said.

Her interest in education sparked at an early age. Cook’s mom was a kindergarten teacher at Elmwood-Murdock and shared with her daughter about her job daily. Her mother talked about her excitement for teaching upcoming lessons and how she cared for her students. 

“I got to vicariously experience her excitement in creating learning opportunities for her classroom,” Cook said. 

She said school was a positive place for her and she loved her own elementary teachers deeply. Her love for education blossomed and transformed into a career.  Following in her mother’s footsteps, Cook became an educator. 

“I simply love working with kids, their individual journeys, and how I assist along the way,” Cook said.

The educator’s career journey started at Schoo Middle School, a place where Cook said was instrumental in her professional development. 

“I’m a product of Schoo Middle School,” she added. 

She started there teaching sixth grade, and then she became a team leader.  Her responsibilities kept evolving at the middle school serving as its instructional coordinator and eventually associate principal. 

“I learned under amazing leadership mentors and an incredibly energized and collaborative staff,” Cook said. 

Now, she gets to bring those lessons from Schoo to develop her own team and students at Kloefkorn Elementary as its principal. She defined her leadership style as one that revolves around building and maintaining relationships. Fostering community and bonding with her staff and students are essential to her. 

“A person has to feel safe and valued in order to be at their best. Relationships are foundational,” she added.

Cook has served as Kloefkorn’s principal for two years. She wants her staff and students to know that she’s their cheerleader. She hopes they feel recognized for their successes and motivated to keep growing, improving and learning. 

During her tenure, she has already had to navigate challenges like creating normalcy and helping people deal with trauma after the COVID-19 pandemic.  

What keeps the principal going? Her team and the students. 

“I work with a great team that keeps each day positive. This work also satisfies my need to be creative, find strategic solutions for learning and immerse myself in human interactions,” she said.

Lincoln Public Schools is looking for more passionate, talented educators. We are hiring teachers, counselors, school psychologists and more. Ready to be a difference maker?  Come to our Educator Interview Fair on Nov. 11, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the Steve Joel District Leadership Center (district office), located at 5905 O St. 

To secure your interview spot,  fill out this form bit.ly/LPSEducatorFair.

Published: November 9, 2022, Updated: November 9, 2022

Shayna Cook interacting with Kloefkorn students after lunch.