Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 10

KEY PRACTICE 2: CREATING A CLIMATE HOSPITABLE TO EDUCATION

Agents of Change
Successfully building relationships and managing
change creates a positive learning space
BY RICHARD LEE COLVIN

W

hen Ryan Daniel became
principal of Chillum
Elementary School in
2017, she knew the school
was located in a subsidized housing
complex and that English was a second
language for most of its students. She
was also aware that the person she was
replacing at the 360-student school in
Hyattsville, Maryland, had been in the
role for 19 years.
"I knew that change would be difficult for some and welcomed by others,
and that there was work that had been
started, but that the school yearned for
new energy, new life, and fresh ideas,"
says Daniel.
Rather than issuing directives, however, Daniel put her energies into ending
the isolation some teachers felt and
emphasizing teamwork.

10

"Building relationships is one of my
biggest strengths, and I knew that in
order for us to do this work, we needed
to collaborate," she says. "Change is
hard and messy in the beginning, but if
we stay close to the goals that we create
as a team, we can help everyone along
the way."
Cameron Millspaugh, who in 2015
was a first-time principal at Cool Spring
Elementary School, located a few miles
north of Chillum in Adelphi, Maryland,
faced similar challenges. As a result
of teachers who chose to leave rather
than adjust to a new principal, he also
had a number of staff vacancies to fill.
Like Daniel, Millspaugh made building
relationships with and among his staff a
top priority.
"I told the staff that we had to focus
on the people, not the work, and not the

PRINCIPAL * Special Supplement - May/June 2018

stress of the work," Millspaugh says.
"We had to work together, whether or not
we taught children, and build camaraderie around the idea that everything we
do is intended to benefit the children we
serve and the community around us."

Districtwide Effort
It wasn't by happenstance that both of
these new principals recognized that a
supportive, professional, and collaborative school culture is key to academic
success. Both Chillum and Cool Spring
are part of Prince George's County Public
Schools, a district that, with grants from
The Wallace Foundation, has put in place
a multidimensional training, mentoring,
and hiring system to ensure its principals
are steeped in evidence-based leadership practices. One of those practices,
researchers have found, is that effective



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018

Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - Cover1
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - Cover2
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 1
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 2
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Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - Cover3
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - Cover4
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https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/NAESP/principal_wallacesupp_20180506
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