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Center Grove Elementary principal enjoys volunteering and raising funds for local nonprofits

Center Grove Elementary principal enjoys volunteering and raising funds for local nonprofits

By Nancy Price

Many of us dream about a career while growing up, but find our purpose is called in a different direction. Krista Nelson, principal at Center Grove Elementary School, found hers while attending IUPUI. The Center Grove High School graduate was studying nursing but changed her major during a summer break.

“After volunteering in my mom’s fifth-grade classroom and teaching at camps in the summer I decided to change my career path,” Nelson said. “It was the best career decision I have ever made. I love being a lifelong learner and learning something new every day from our students and staff. Each day you never know what celebrations and challenges you will face. My colleagues challenge me every day to think outside the box and do what is best for kids.”

Nelson was chosen as the 2019 District 9 Elementary Principal of the Year by the Indiana Association of School Principals (IASP). In her spare time, she enjoys participating with the annual Rock the Block run to raise funds for local organizations, volunteering for United Way and coaching her daughter’s (Karter) soccer team at SCSA.

What is your greatest virtue? Empathy – I try to understand and share the feelings of others around me.  

What upsets you?  When someone is not loyal or does not follow through on what they said they would do to help others.   

What do you like best about Center Grove?  Center Grove is a very caring and compassionate community. I am amazed when a call to help is placed, the amount of community members that show up to serve. The community is much larger than when I was a child, but still has that small community feel.

What’s your favorite Southside eatery? Arni’s! We are regulars!

If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be? My husband and I moved away after college, due to jobs, but made our way back to the Center Grove community about 11 years ago. I cannot think of a better place to live and raise our daughter.

If you could begin life over, what would you change? I would not change anything. Every path and decision I have made throughout my life has helped me be a better person and prepared me for the next chapter in life. The only thing I would tell my younger self is to stop worrying about what others think about you. You have to do what is best for you, even though others may not like your decisions. 

If money were no issue, how would you spend it? Professionally – I would love to provide free/affordable childcare for parents.  I believe the hardest choice as a parent is to find childcare for a child that is sick, or short-term care as a working parent. I am also a huge proponent for early childhood education and would love to see free preschool for all kids. Personally – My dream is to go on a National Geographic Expedition and travel around the world for a year with explorers and educators from NGE.

What makes you happiest? Spending time with family and friends!

Pick three adjectives that best describe you. Motivated, compassionate and energetic.

What is your favorite vacation spot? Somewhere on a beach.

What do you do with idle time? Playing games with family, reading books or listening to podcasts.

How do you escape from reality? Our family loves to travel and we will go to places that have very little internet service so that we can unplug from the world and technology.  

What do you love most in life? The ability to overcome hardships and appreciate what I have in life instead of wishing I had more. To have the drive to be a better person each day.  

Which living person in Center Grove do you most admire? There have been many people in the community who have helped shape who I am today. Kathy Sagorsky and Terri Manship instilled the love of learning in me at North Grove Elementary School and Jim Todd was my swim coach who pushed me to work harder than I ever thought I could.  

What quality do you admire most in another person? Loyalty

What is your greatest extravagance? We love Disney and going to the parks and on Disney cruises. I am hopeful this will be something we can do again soon!

What is your greatest fear? Not living up to the expectations of others and feeling that I have failed people.

What has been the happiest time of your life? October 2000 when I married my husband and March 2012 when my daughter was born.  

Is there a special talent you really wish you had? I wish I could speak multiple languages fluently.  

What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty

Which historical figure do you most admire? It is hard to choose just one as I admire many historical figures. Some that come to mind are Jesus Christ, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Katherine Johnson, Queen Elizabeth, Rosa Parks and Aristotle.

What tenet do you live by? You cannot control everything that comes your way. Live for today, be present for those around you and enjoy life. 

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I may seem like an extrovert to others, but I am an introvert at home and love spending time by myself.


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