First daughter Jenna Bush is leaving her job as a 3rd grade teacher at the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington to teach in Latin America next year, according to published reports.
A spokeswoman for first lady Laura Bush did not return phone calls seeking further detail.
Ms. Bush, 24, majored in English at the University of Texas at Austin. She had passed the Praxis, a teaching exam required in some states for certification, said Linda R. Moore, the charter school’s executive director, who interviewed her for the position.
Ms. Bush worked as an assistant teacher at the 8-year-old charter school for part of the 2004-05 school year, before taking the 3rd grade position this past school year. She went through the same selection process as any other applicant, Ms. Moore said.
“Being a first-year teacher is one of the hardest jobs a person can have,” Ms. Moore said. “She was a fantastic first-year teacher.”
She said Ms. Bush “became part of the school community easily and quickly.”
During the school’s annual celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, Ms. Bush dressed as the Cat in the Hat and read stories to the children.
Ms. Bush also started an after-school book club to help struggling readers. She taught in a Spanish-immersion classroom, alongside a more experienced teacher. All of the classes at the school are team-taught, in either English and Spanish or English and French, Ms. Moore said.
While school administrators were initially concerned about the presence of U.S. Secret Service agents, students and teachers hardly noticed them, Ms. Moore said.
“It was never an issue,” she said. “They do their jobs so well you barely know that they’re around.
But Ms. Bush’s students did get some perks from their First Family connection. At Christmastime, they visited the White House, where they had a screening of “The Chronicles of Narnia” in the private movie theater. They also met their teacher’s family: President Bush, the first lady, and Jenna’s twin, Barbara.
Still, the highlight of the White House visit—for the children, at least—was playing with Barney and Miss Beazley, the Bush family’s Scottish terriers, said Cheryl Jones, the school’s music teacher and parent coordinator. Her daughter, Cecelia Whettstone, 8, was in Ms. Bush’s class.
A version of this article appeared in the July 26, 2006 edition of Education Week