Jessica Varela is in her 2nd year at Presbyterian School as the Head of Lower School. She has been in education for over a decade serving in various roles including Lower School classroom teacher, curriculum coordinator and educational consultant. She holds a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Kansas as well as a master's degree in Elementary Education from The George Washington University. Additionally, she has completed post-graduate work in Literacy at Chapman University, in Reading at Columbia University, and in Mathematics at Stanford University. Jessica values the opportunity to support teachers and families as together they work to love and challenge each student every day. When not working, Jessica enjoys engaging in bible study, stitching, craft retreats and traveling. She and her husband, Jason, have a son, Jack (PS ‘31), and a two-year old daughter, Juliette.
Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, University of Kansas
Master of Education, Elementary Education, The George Washington University
Q & A with JESSICA
What are your top five CliftonStrengths, and which ONE do you find yourself leaning into the most these days?
Input, Relator, Discipline, Responsibility and Strategic are my top five strengths. I find myself the most energized when, as part of a team (relator), we think strategically (strategic) about next steps to find the clear direction out of many great options.
What’s your favorite part of the PS Mission ("Family, School and Church united in the education and support of each Child") and why?
I love the word “education” in our Mission because it is the firm foundation on which each child can flourish.
What’s your happy place?
I love sitting on a balcony or porch in the early morning overlooking the ocean, in a comfy chair, with a good cup of coffee and a book or a stitching project.
In the movie about your life, what actor/actress (alive or dead) gets to play you?
Anne Hathaway; and if I get to choose, I’d love for it to be a Hallmark Christmas movie.
What’s your favorite musical group and song?
I grew up listening to wide ranges of folk pop music, so I have a love for Elton’s Johns, “Tiny Dancer,” “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, and Bob Dylan’s, “Boots of Spanish Leather.” This led me to love modern folk rock, like Counting Crows, Ingrid Michaelson, and Amos Lee.
What’s your go-to comfort food?
Don’t get me wrong, I love food, but I love beverages even more! In any given brunch situation, I could be known to order coffee, orange juice, Diet Dr. Pepper, and to also strongly desire my child’s chocolate milk!
What makes you laugh?
I love a good ironic or punny meme. “Geology Rocks” is worth saying out loud.