Jupiter High’s Assistant Principal Kelly Foss is an unsung hero on campus. She not only handles all the responsibilities of an administrator with calm and grace but also works behind the scenes as the Advanced Placement Testing Coordinator–a monumental task during a normal school year and an even greater one with distance learning.
Foss has been working in education for nearly 20 years and has always had a passion for teaching and learning. She knew she wanted to work in education since she was a little girl.
“I had such compassionate teachers when I was young, and I idolized them. I played ‘school’ in my basement as a young child and always named myself after one of my teachers,” Foss said. “I also did lots of babysitting growing up, so the two kind of went hand-in-hand.”
Her career began in Ohio where she taught social studies for three years. After many cold winters, she realized she didn’t like the frigid weather and decided to move to Florida.
“I can appreciate seasons short term, but six months of winter wasn’t my thing ever. I was always happiest in the summer or on family vacation cruises where it was warm,” Foss said, “I moved here pretty blindly, which looking back now, I don’t know that I would have the guts to do again.”
Foss was offered a job at Boca Raton High School where she taught history for several years before earning her master’s degree in Education Leadership and going into administration. While an administrator at Boca, she oversaw the AICE program, which was new at the time.
“As the program expanded at Boca High, other schools in Florida would come and visit to learn more information so they could also start AICE courses. Jupiter happened to be one of those schools who came to visit and wanted to bring AICE to their school,” Foss said.
Foss’s success overseeing AICE opened up new possibilities for her to help hundreds of students earn Bright Futures scholarships and college credits, so taking over AP testing for college credit was a natural fit.
“Since I coordinated such a large program at Boca, when I was hired at Jupiter, I came in as the State and District Testing Coordinator and that eventually got passed on to other colleagues while AP testing was passed on to me,” Foss said.
Other than being able to help thousands of students, another enjoyable part about her job as Assistant Principal is that she can be a role model for students.
“Feeling like I can lead by example is one of my favorite parts about being an AP. Never ask anyone, a student, a co-worker…to do something you yourself wouldn’t do,” Foss said.
Always thinking of student success, Foss is incredibly proud of Jupiter High’s class of 2020 and the ways they’ve handled the end of their senior year. Her advice to them is to be safe, be kind, stay healthy, work hard and have fun while doing the things you love.
“Save a little bit of money, even when it’s hard. It’s a safety net. Be nice to people. Your life can change quickly, and having friends to support you and help make decisions is another safety net. In addition, it’s a mindset. If you are rude, angry or just plain mean, it sets the tone for your day,” Foss said. “Find balance, work hard but also play hard. Allow yourself to do fun things, find hobbies that you can do alone or with people, exercise and see your family or friends.”