Denny Rush named Administrator of Year

Parker Whitney Principal earns statewide honor
By: Gloria Beverage, Placer Herald Editor
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Denny Rush, principal of Parker Whitney School, has been named California’s Elementary Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). “Over the past eight years, the school has shown continuous gains in every measurement and as set by the district, state and/or federal regulations,” said Rocklin Unified School District Superintendent Kevin Brown. “She has outstanding interpersonal skills and has a personality that radiates enthusiasm, warmth and humor. Her contributions in propelling student learning forward have set the tone for high expectations and a culture of innovation.” Under Rush’s leadership, he continued, the school earned the 2012 California Distinguished Schools by the California Department of Education. “Getting this award doesn’t happen in isolation,” Rush said in acknowledging the “incredible team” at Parker Whitney. “This could be a real different story if it wasn’t for all the things they do.”. She joined the Rocklin Unified School District as a classroom aide and crossing guard at Spring View Middle School, later moving to Rocklin Elementary School. She earned her teaching credential in 1993 and her administrative credential in 2000. “I was an instructional aide in a third-grade classroom for the first part of the year,” she said. “I had finished my degree and was working on my credential. I resigned because I needed to student teach. The next day I walked into the same classroom and was the (student) teacher.” She was selected principal of Parker Whitney School in 2003. Rush said she loved being in the classroom, but also finds satisfaction in supporting the efforts of the staff as well as the families of students at Parker Whitney. “Any time you work with families, sometimes you become aware of struggles within the family and how it affects the kids,” she said. “I think if there is a hard part of this job, it is that. I can’t take them all home (with me).” Parents appreciate Rush’s leadership and kind heart. “She comes to all our meetings – pretty much everything,” said Richard Boone, who is serving his third term as Parent Teacher Club President. “She’s very active, very supportive. She takes community involvement to a very high level.” Nor is Rush afraid to pitch in, he continued. At the school’s annual benefit auctions, Rush had offered to lead a walking tour of Christmas lights in the Stanford Ranch area. Last year she offered to wash someone’s car. “The bidding got so crazy,” Boone said. “She ended up washing 12 cars!” Jamie Sears, who moved from Citrus Heights to Rocklin at the beginning of the school year, found the school campus to be accessible and friendly. “My son is in the special needs program,” Sears said. “(Rush) asked ‘how can we help. What can we do for him? I felt really welcomed.” Within the education community, Rush is an up and coming leader in the statewide administrators’ association. David Swartz, president of Region 2, ACSA, has worked with Rush for several years. He went on to describe Rush as “hard working, innovative and committed to excellence in all she does. She came up through the ranks and continues to lead by example, always putting the needs of kids first.” Rush currently serves as delegate at large for Region 2, ACSA, but will assume the Regional Vice President and President positions in the coming years, he added. She has served on the state Elementary Education Council and is respected across the state as a leader in Elementary Education. “She is a vital contributing member of our Region Executive Board and is always willing to support the educational community through her hard work,” he said. Off campus, the 52-year-old Roseville resident participates in a variety of outdoor sports. “People would be surprised to know I’m an avid snowboarder,” she said. Growing up in Applegate, Rush developed a love for riding horses as a child. In 2007, Rush earned the prestigious Tevis Cup belt buckle for completing the grueling 100-mile race from Tahoe to Auburn. “I have done endurance riding for several years with the ultimate goal of finishing the Tevis. We trained for 18 months – dedicating every weekend to it,” she said. “It was fun.” There’s not much on her “bucket list,” Rush said, adding she hopes to do some traveling. “It is good to be me. I don’t have a lot of wants,” she said. “My kids are grown and out of college. I have two young grandchildren. Both of my kids are within three miles of me.”