by Lou Bendrick, Director of Development

She’s the heart of our elementary school and knows every student and their families by name. She’s worn many hats at Friends School over the last 20 years, but there’s a lot more to know about Front Desk Coordinator, Jana Bledsoe. Read all about Jana in this staff interview.

Where are you from and where do you live now? 

I was born in Mabel, MN, a small farming community – population, a whopping, 888. I later moved to Winona MN where I grew up but frequented our family farm on weekends. I moved to Boulder in 1997 after living in Texas, New Mexico, and California.

Personal stats: 

I live with my partner of 10 years, Tom and my 11-year-old rescue Shih Tzu, Charlie. My daughter Tayler, who graduated from Friends School in 2003 is now 28 years old. She’s a musician and sound engineer and still attributes her independence, drive and success to her Friends School education. 

What did you do before working at Friends School?

I’ve had an adventurous work experience starting with an apprenticeship with a couture house in Dallas after graduating with a degree in fashion design.  From there I ventured into modeling and working as a stylist in Dallas for a photography studio working on fashion layouts and catalogues. I then went on to manage a commercial photography studio in Los Angeles where I had the opportunity to work with record companies and movie studios coordinating shoots for album covers and movie posters.  When my daughter was born, I moved into an administrative position with American Medical International for 2 years and then was recruited by our CEO to work on managed healthcare software start-up. I moved to Boulder in 1997 so that my ex-husband could pursue his doctorate at CU and after a year of searching for opportunities to work with children, I went to work at Friends School at the front desk. 

How long have you been with Friends School?

I’ve been with Friends School around 20 years. I left Friends in 2006 so that my daughter could attend Denver School of the Arts. We moved back to Boulder in 2008 and I jumped at the chance to work at Friends supporting the administrative staff in 2010 and have been here since.

What’s interesting, fun or challenging about your job now?

Besides loving the kids and loving our families, I am so passionate about our mission to raise independent, critical thinkers who go out in the world knowing who they are. I have had the opportunity to work with our alumni and see our mission in action with the extraordinary things that they’re accomplishing out in the world.

What’s an interesting fact about you? 

I have put in over 28,000 miles on roller blades in my lifetime. I trained 100 miles a week on paved, hilly country roads as well as minor county highways. My current passion is rescuing geriatric dogs. My last rescue Rusty was 13 when he was dropped off at the Humane Society. He had been adopted and returned twice before I brought him home.  He lived to be 17! I support everyone to consider adopting adult and/or senior dogs. 

What’s your favorite kind of music and favorite band?

I distinctly remember listening to my little transistor radio in rural Minnesota at night and tuning into WLS station in Chicago and hearing soul, R&B and funk. For the first time.  I absolutely love bass guitar and bands/artists like Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, and pretty much everything Motown (so I was thrilled to work with Motown on album covers in LA).  I also enjoy and play acoustic guitar. 

Challenging minds. Nurturing spirits. Honoring individuality.