My Personal Leadership Philosophy

  • As Principal at Van Allen Elementary, I recognize the privilege that I am granted of leading our staff and students. One of my favorite parts of the job are the interactions that I am able to have with students upon their arrival to school each morning. For many of our students, upon arriving at school, I am the first smile they see; it is my responsibility to greet them by name in-order to make them feel valued. During these morning interactions, I learn about their families, what types of activities that they engage in when they aren’t at school, and the things that bring them excitement and joy. These small interactions are how we build meaningful connections.

    During a typical school day, I may be called to help minimize a student’s behavior. My initial response is to ensure that anything I feel is put into check before I encounter the student, my immediate goal is to help the student regulate their emotions; as a result, my actions become a model for them. I calmly approach the student and attempt to maintain appropriate proximity that allows me to quietly ask them what I can do to help them at this moment. I make sure not to make accusations or assumptions during these situations, and instead I simply wait with them until they are ready to talk with me. I focus on remaining optimistic during these encounters, which in turn, allows me to be the anchor for a child when his/her emotions are dysregulated.

    While education continues to evolve, our students’ social emotional well being has moved into the forefront of our work. More than ever before, it matters how we make students feel when they arrive at school each day. It is essential that we show the empathy that they need and deserve. The trajectory of a student’s life hinges on our day-to-day actions as educators, how we make students feel and how we approach learning. I am confident in my belief in us, as educators, because everyday I see us making kids smile and building positive relationships with our students at Van Allen. And when that’s happening, learning takes-off.