Every morning, Ann Jayne hits the road for the 50-minute drive in the dark toward Vintage Hills Elementary.
And every morning, she said, she's excited to see her students and for the possibilities of the day ahead.
She worked her way up through San Joaquin County school districts, earning a doctorate along the way, before becoming vice principal at a Manteca Unified elementary school. She accepted the post of Vintage Hills' principal for this school year after former principal Melissa Theide moved to Castro Valley's school district to become a human resources director.
While Jayne, 52, is new to the Pleasanton Unified School District, her career in education spans 15 years.
Her first education job was in 2001 as a gifted and talented education (GATE) coach in Tracy. She then became an instructional coach at Stockton Unified in 2012 before moving into administration as a vice principal in Manteca from 2013-15. She has also been an instructor at the Teachers College of San Joaquin for four years.
Jayne said she strongly believes everyone is born curious and wants to get more out of their world. It's up to educators to nurture that desire and to help students be all they can be, she said.
"Everyone wants to learn," she said.
Jayne learned the joy of world traveling at an early age through family trips, and while she grew up in Santa Monica, she attended high school partially in California and partially in Germany. She moved to the Bay Area to pursue a hospitality degree that could give her the option to travel the world as she pursued her career.
She spent part of her working life as an insurance underwriter, a self-employed event coordinator and a stay-at-home mom before beginning her current career as an educator.
She said she spent a lot of time at her children's school, and one day she remembered the principal came up to her and asked, "So when are you going to come work for me?"
She took the advice to heart and began a journey that led her to teach in three school districts and earn her doctorate degree in teaching. Her doctorate thesis, "Female teachers, whiteness, and the quest for cultural proficiency," dealt with the issue of how teachers can use certain strategies to mold students who are from different backgrounds than the educators.
Jayne serves as co-president of the local Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), serves on the ACSA's state equity project and presents at the Corwin Press Cultural Proficiency International Conference -- an educational conference that discusses diversity, equity and opportunity within schools.
As she moved into her new role, Vintage Hills was selected as a National Blue Ribbon School late last month. The school is also looking forward to a visit from the Google Expeditions team, a newly released school resources immersion program that is visiting select campuses during the first year of the new program.
Jayne comes from a family of teachers. Both her parents were educators, as are some of her siblings.
She said she grew up in an environment where constantly learning was a fun activity, and that "planted a seed" in her mind that she wanted to share that joy with others.
"It's part of who we are. It's part of how I grew up," she said.
Once as a child, her parents planned a family trip to Europe. Weeks before the trip, her parents had plastered posters of the destinations they'd visit all around the house. Jayne said she'd bounce from poster to poster, absorbing everything in reach.
Her own growth was encouraged by mentors and role models, such as former bosses and Randall Lindsey, an expert on cultural proficiency teaching methods and author on the subject.
She said she also draws inspiration from her parents, her sisters and her husband.
During her first three months at Vintage Hills, she said, she's learned the school's parents, teachers, staff, volunteers and other stakeholders have been an invaluable resource. She said she feels like they've adopted her as one of their own.
"It's like being a new family member," she said.
Jayne, who has lived in Tracy for 20 years, has two grown children, ages 20 and 23. Now that their kids are on their own, Jayne and her husband love to take trips to Europe or to see the Pacific Ocean. One of their favorite spots, Jayne said, is the tide pools north of Half Moon Bay.
She also loves to read history and mystery fiction novels, enjoys riding her bike and likes to play with her family dog, a "pound puppy."
She's serious about learning, but Jayne said that doesn't mean she's somber. She describes herself as a fun-loving, energetic principal.
"I know I'm perfect for elementary because I'm kind of goofy," she said.
She earned a bachelor's degree in hospitality from Cal Poly, Pomona. She earned her a master's and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of the Pacific in Stockton. She also holds teaching and administrative credentials.
Jayne earns an annual salary of $124,647 as principal of Vintage Hills, located at 1125 Concord St.