School Leader Spotlight: Attracting great teachers at Woodland Acres Elementary
JPEF is supporting Principal Tiffany Green as she seeks to make Woodland Acres a destination for great teachers.
Tiffany Green is the Principal of Woodland Acres Elementary and one of JPEF's Cindy Edelman Fellows for Teacher Recruitment and Retention. She receives coaching, professional learning and grant support as part of JPEF's School Leadership Initiative.
Principal Green's project focuses on creating a great working environment that makes great teachers want to come to her school and stay. Teachers are the No. 1 school-based factor driving student outcomes, so they are a critical component of successful schools and are a top priority for effective principals.
Kelly Coker, the School Board Member representing District 1, recently visited Woodland Acres Elementary and was impressed by her work.
"We are so fortunate to have Principal Tiffany Green leading our efforts at Woodland Acres Elementary School. Her knowledge of curriculum and instructional resources is incredibly strong. She also understands how to use data to truly individual student learning. In a school whose students have such diverse needs, her ability as an instructional leader is imperative in ensuring the school moves forward. Additionally, Principal Green's genuine care, commitment and compassion to the teachers, students, and community she serves is an inspiration to those around her."
Based on the success of Principal Green's work, we wanted to learn a little bit more about what's working so well at Woodland Acres.
Tell me a little bit about you. What inspired you to become a principal, and how long have you been leading Woodland Acres Elementary?
I have been the principal of Woodland Acres for six years. Before becoming the principal, I served as the Assistant Principal and the Reading Coach. The one thing that inspired me to become a principal was the support I received from my previous administrators. Being that I am a non-College of Education graduate, there were certain aspects of the field of education that were unfamiliar to me. During my third year of teaching, we had a change in administration, and my principal took me underneath her wings, supported my areas of weakness and fostered my strengths. One day in her office, she spoke life into me and encouraged me to step into leadership roles. From that very moment, I wanted to have an opportunity to support teachers the way that she helped me.
Why did you choose to focus on developing great coaching for teachers at your school? How is JPEF's support making a difference in your work?
I wanted to focus on teacher coaching and support because it builds self-efficacy, content knowledge, and confidence. When teachers feel as if they are equipped for their jobs, it comes across in their instructional delivery and ultimately impacts student achievement. JPEF has allowed us to support our teachers through additional funding for program materials and additional coaching support.
Can you tell me a little bit about the results you're seeing that make you think you're on the right track?
Of the 40 certificated members on my staff, 11 of them completed their internship here at Woodland Acres. At the end of every semester, several of the interns ask if they could be considered for a position in the near future.
That's impressive that you have so many interns who want to join your school in a permanent teaching role. What is your secret sauce for attracting teachers?
We truly treat them as if they are a part of our team. Suppose I have a staff celebration, order school shirts, raffles, etc. I always try to include them. I also look for ways for the interns to be empowered to make discussions and have input, especially in collaborative planning. I also make myself available to answer any questions that they may have, and I always try to provide support as needed.
Above: Teachers work in professional learning communities to improve their practices.
The School Board member representing your district, Dr. Kelly Coker, recently visited your school. What was the most helpful part of her visit?
My visit with Dr. Coker was very insightful. As a former educator, she understands our needs and is very supportive in helping our school community. It is very refreshing to have the support of someone who has traveled down this same path.
What else do you wish the community knew about the quality of education you're providing at Woodland Acres?
Woodland Acres is a hidden gem. The faculty and staff work very hard to positively impact the whole child through lesson planning, providing support services, and building lasting relationships with members of our community.
Learn more about JPEF's School Leadership Initiative here.