As a Pine Crest School Class of 1981 alumna, teacher, coach, and parent of two alumni, Calla ’11 and Chandler ’14 Cissel, Jana Blackwell’s Panther Pride runs deep.
“This is my 20th year at Pine Crest,” said Jana. “What attracted me to education was the flexibility to be professional and still raise a family. However, my first job at Pine Crest was actually at Pine Crest Day Camp (PCDC) in 1976 when I was 13. I worked at Day Camp every summer, even through college.”
A beloved Middle School social science teacher and Cheerleading Program Head, Jana returned to Pine Crest after living abroad and teaching in England. This year, she began a new chapter in her career at Pine Crest as the Executive Director of Auxiliary Programs, overseeing all extracurricular student life, including summer programming, summer school, extended day, after-school activities, and the Spirit Store on both the Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale campuses.
“Pulling these areas of student life under one umbrella allows us to make sure they represent Pine Crest well,” said Jana. “My team and I have been tasked with creating signature programs, the way PCDC has been a signature summer program over the last 60 years. We are working toward building new and exciting programs for students.”
One of the highlights for Jana in this new role “has been involving staff, including Facilities and Dining, in our auxiliary programming,” she said. “ With new auxiliary options on the horizon, we are working together to offer spectacular opportunities for our students.”
One of those new programs will be focused on entrepreneurship. During the summer, Pine Crest will offer a week-long fashion technique class where campers will create a fashion wearable, market it, and try to sell it.”
“Entrepreneurship is in high demand amongst students,” said Jana. “They are so good at innovating and creating, but they need to know if their invention is usable. The business side of innovating is important for students to learn so they can take their ideas outside of the classroom.”
Other new summer programs include cooking with our dining hall chefs on both campuses, designing and racing wooden cars on a special track, and even DNA analysis with genetic blueprinting and forensics.
When asked about what she is most excited about, Jana said, “Helping put Pine Crest on the map for auxiliary programming. I want to enhance our programs and reach the community. What we love is offering unique programs in a safe and secure environment. No matter where you are during the summer, the opportunity to experience the Pine Crest community is available, even if it is just for one week.”
For more information on Summer at Pine Crest, go to www.pinecrest.edu/summer.