From Parent to Principal, Elementary School Principal Karen Hughes Has Always Been Impressed with PUSD

By Tara Fort

From the very first day Karen Hughes walked one of her children to Lincoln Elementary School in Fall of 1999, she was hooked on what that special time represented and relished the quaint history of all who came before her.

“After walking my kids to school, I was one of those moms who waited until the entire class was in the building before walking back home. We lived in the Lincoln neighborhood at the time, and I just loved the picturesque area. I could immediately—and later, always—sense the encompassing feeling of school pride, family, and kindness. I began to volunteer on the playground at recess that first year, and never looked back.”

Now, as Principal of Lincoln Elementary School since the Fall of 2015 after finishing her Master’s in Educational Leadership that year, Hughes continues to be impressed with Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) and how its staff and mission contribute to all aspects of fostering growth for its students.

Aligning with the PUSD motto of “Every Child, Every Day,” Hughes said, “Over the last decade, we have really focused on the ‘U’ in Unified, and I’ve always been impressed with the team aspect of this district—whether it’s as a PTA parent or an employee, or as part of the district leadership team. We discovered that when we establish a common focus and a set of goals as a district, it leads to a more efficient and unified district, allowing us to better serve students, families and staff.”

Hughes said she spent a lot of time reflecting during the pandemic and in recent months as the district re-establishes “business as usual.”

“I could not be more proud of our district and staff in how they handled the past two years. We had to reinvent how students did school… multiple times! There was fear, politics, and learning loss—all while assisting families with how to navigate personal loss themselves. But educators in our district have tenacity and resilience, and regardless of what we lost, we are now even better skilled at looking at a child’s individual progress and making sure that each learner gets what is needed every day. Our students have so many opportunities to shine and explore strengths and interests, and our rigorous academic programs and broad scope of extra-curricular offerings provide such a wide range of choices for all.”

With a family life that brings an abundance of activity, thanks in part to her husband, four children and four grandchildren, Hughes said she has begun to budget her time better while learning the hard lesson of prioritizing.

“I think I improve every year at making hard choices during busy times, and I’ve learned to take better care of my mental and physical health. It’s always a work in progress.”

For more information about Karen Hughes and the Prescott Unified School District, visit