Family Life

Zane Whittington

Occupation ▪ Principal of Jefferson Terrace Elementary
Wife ▪ Brooke
Children ▪ Quinn, 3 1/2
Hobbies ▪ Traveling, fishing, spending time with friends, and reading

Continuing to always learn and grow is important to Zane Whittington. As principal of Jefferson Terrace Elementary, Zane has major goals on what he hopes for the futures of the students, teachers, and the school. However, it’s the standard he holds himself to that is truly admirable. 

As a husband and father, Zane enjoys spending quality time with his family and friends, whether they are checking out the local museums or spending evenings in the backyard for barbecues.

How would you describe raising your little girl?
It’s the most enjoyable and most difficult thing I’ve ever done. She is such a blessing, and she’s quite the entertainer. She has a very strong personality as well.

What do you like to do as a family?
We are always visiting with friends. Most of the couples have children who are under the age of 10, so we’ll have days at the park or Knock Knock, go tailgating, or have a barbecue.

What’s the greatest thing about being a dad?
The most enjoyable thing is seeing your children express their affection for you. When I get home, she runs up to me, saying “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!,” and when she gives hugs, she says, “Squeeeze!” I love hearing her say, “I love you, Daddy.”

How has parenthood changed you?
I think now I have a different perspective that I didn’t have before having kids. It’s a big undertaking. Now that I work in education, I can understand what it is like to be in the parents’ shoes. It’s a new level of understanding.

What do you love most about your job?
The thing I enjoy the most is the thing you don’t always get to see. It’s how you can work with these children to improve the community. You can only hope to have a positive impact on them. It’s the best and most stressful.

What life lessons do you find yourself teaching the students the most?
Teaching the patterns of behavior such as: Keep your hands to yourself, when and when not to talk, and respecting the environment.

How do you make time to relax?
It’s a work in progress. I’m a new administrator and I find myself working on weekends, but as I learn to do my job better and I am working to improve, I’m trying to dedicate time to family, making sure to turn off my phone and step away from the computer. 

What’s your favorite date night with your wife?
For her, it’s pizza at home, watching Downton Abbey. For me, it’s going to dinner and having a social evening.

What kind of dad are you?
I think every dad would describe themselves as the fun dad. I like to have fun and goof off. We do a lot of fun stuff. I’m not super rigid. I want to expose her to fun stuff and talk and be silly.

What’s something you hope to instill in her?
Having an attitude of gratitude and to always try to find the silver lining, taking life as it comes.

What personality trait of yours does she have?
Silly and a comedian. She’s always making people laugh.

What did you have as a child that kids today don’t have?
The ability to go outside, check in at noon, and stay out until dark. There was a greater freedom back then.

Which family member has been your greatest role model in life?
My mom. We butted heads. I had a strong personality and I challenged her a lot, but now I look back and ask, “What was I thinking?” I find that I draw upon things she instilled in us growing up. She was a nurse, so nothing was off limits. She wanted us to hear everything from her instead of someone else.

What’s your biggest goal in life right now?
Continuous improvement. I want to see my students, teachers, and school be even more successful, and I want to improve myself.

Is there anything people don’t know about you?
My aspiration was to do theater. I was also in ballet, and I was the only male in the class. 

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
We have a new school being built that will go to eighth grade, so I hope to still be principal and supporting the community I serve.

Do you have advice for other parents?
Parent is not a passive role; you have to invest in another life. Be available and always accept help from friends. ■

Quick Q&A
In my fridge, you will always find…
all types of sausage.
Favorite movie growing up…Big Trouble in Little China.
My guilty pleasure is…Nutella, sausage, they’re all food related.
Music I’m loving…Bastille and Kings of Leon.
I feel my best when I…know I am helping others around me.
My favorite television show is…The West Wing and New Girl.
My favorite ice cream is…mint pistachio or homemade vanilla with buttered pecan.

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