Principal Kristi Smith runs a high-performing school with a family and community heartbeat. Among her staff, she leads with a single focus on the well-being and academic interests of each young student. Her leadership style is described best as open — shared across her expert staff.
Empowered & Shared Leadership
Smith enables leadership qualities to flourish wherever they show up — among the instructional and classified staff, among specialists and school volunteers. In fact, Smith and her staff built this model for shared leadership into their school improvement plan (SLP). Take a look at the SLP for reading (literacy practices). Its benefits and impacts are manifest in the support teachers receive as instructional leaders, able to make decisions and modify teaching strategies quickly as the learning needs of their students arise.
Principal Kristi Smith on leadership, in her own words...
I believe the role of leadership is to empower staff to teach and cultivate the belief that all of our students are capable of high levels of learning. We do not operate from a deficit model, but from a position of strength and build upon students’ successes. As the principal, I work with staff to develop a clear and shared focus that unifies our efforts for student achievement. A paramount part of this clear and shared focus involves being the instructional leader of the school and promoting a culture of shared leadership within the school.
Each staff member participates on one of three school improvement teams: the literacy team, mathematics team or family involvement team. This ensures teachers’ direct involvement in the overall vision for the school. In order to support this vision, we also need the involvement of parents and our community. We partner with parents through monthly family learning nights, as well as opportunities for volunteering, conferences, and engagement with their child. Community partnerships add an additional layer of support throughout the year. As we work with students we are always. Not just academic success as elementary school students, but looking towards their long-term success and opening doors to limitless possibilities for every child. mindful of our efforts’ impact on their future
We Can Make the Connection
Among the Nine Characteristics of High-Performing Schools, the leadership factor is foundational to the success of every staff member and student. At East Port Orchard, Kristi Smith not only sets the pace of change but nurtures the collaborative dynamics and creative potential among her instructional and classified staff. This is the winning combination for student achievement.