This is our fourth year as a Leader in Me school. We focus on a leadership model that develops The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in our staff, scholars and parents. This means we have shifted our thinking to develop the whole child, all scholars have genius, everyone can be a leader, all change starts with me, and teachers and staff empower scholars to lead their own learning.

We did it! We completed our Leader in Me Lighthouse review process. This is the highest honor as a Leader in Me school. Looking back, this process was challenging, daunting, and exhausting.

Prior to our site visit on February 15, we uploaded evidence into an electronic binder under the areas of Leadership, Culture and Academics. The sub categories included: ongoing and new staff learning, principal learning and modeling, direct lessons, integrated approaches, modeling, family communication, 7 habits training for families, scholar teaching at home, physical environment, common language, emotional environment, scholar leadership roles, scholar voice, active leadership teams, school-wide and classroom, family and community events. School, team, staff and scholar goals, leadership notebooks and scholar led conferences, trusting relationships and scholar led learning. This was truly a labor of love working with teams of teachers and scholars to locate the best evidence to demonstrate mature and sustaining on the rubric.

On February 15, a review team visited our school for the day. They met with scholars, went on a tour, visited classrooms and observed lessons, met with our scholar leadership team members, met with parents, teachers and administration. As the principal, my role was minimal, “business as usual” but my heart was overflowing and my stomach hurt. The night before I couldn’t sleep, I tossed and turned, running everything through my head over and over again. The only frame of reference I have to explain the feeling was submitting my National Board portfolios and awaiting scores or defending my dissertation. BUT, this was different, It wasn’t just about me. It was about a promise we made to our scholars, our parents and to ourselves as a school.

Our scholars, parents and staff were amazing! The energy in our school that day was electric. Everyone left energized and completely exhausted. Little did we know we would learn our fate in only a few short weeks…

On February 27, 2018, we learned our school was named the fourth Leader in Me Lighthouse School in Arizona. Words cannot express how proud I am of our scholars, staff and parents.

Today I stopped to pause. Pause on our process. Pause on where we have come and think about where we are going. What will it take for you to pause?


Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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