News-AZ Republic

7 Rodel Exemplary Principals discuss plans to mentor aspiring winners

Arizona Republic – January 23, 2011

These seven school leaders are the 2011 Rodel Exemplary Principals for Maricopa, Pinal and Yavapai counties. Each will mentor three aspiring Rodel principals for two years, helping foster strong leadership in high-need schools. Here, the winners share thoughts about themselves and their roles.

-�Wendy Cohen, principal of Yavapai Elementary in Scottsdale, in the Scottsdale Unified School District.

“A mentor needs to be available, provide inspiration and exhibit the personal characteristics one needs to be successful as a principal: integrity, wise decision-making, good judgment, confidence, sensitivity and a strong work ethic. Perhaps the most important of all is the need to build relationships,” said Cohen, a Scottsdale resident.

-�Kathy Davis, principal of Sevilla West in Phoenix, in the Alhambra Elementary School District.

“We strive to put a vision for college in our students’ minds and work to ensure they will be academically ready when they get there. Education is key to breaking the poverty cycle,” said Davis, a Goodyear resident.

-�Joanne Kramer, principal of McCartney Ranch Elementary in Casa Grande, in the Casa Grande Elementary School District.

“When a monsoon floods the streets in your community or the superintendent calls to inform you that hundreds of students from a neighboring school will be joining you for the day, you won’t find the answers you need in any book. You have to trust that your experiences have prepared you for even the most chaotic of days. And for inspiration, never forget the smiling faces in the classrooms and that the principalship is not a job, but a privilege,” said Kramer, a Casa Grande resident.

-�Diane Pesch, principal of Discovery in Glendale, in the Glendale Elementary School District.

“I believe that I can provide aspiring principals with a rich and rewarding experience by mentoring them in all areas of administration: instructional support, management of facilities, the budget process, building relationships, evaluation of teachers, building community and analysis of data,” said Pesch, a Glendale resident.

-�Randy Watkins, principal of Michael Anderson in Avondale, in the Avondale Elementary School District.

“As a child growing up facing similar challenges as those of my students, I can relate to the impact a positive school experience can have on a child. There is no better gratification in our field than playing an instrumental role in the success of a child who has the deck stacked against them. As Tommy Lasorda said, ‘The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination,’ ” said Watkins, a Surprise resident.

-�Michael Winters, principal of Cheatham Elementary in Laveen, in the Laveen Elementary School District.

“Cheatham has been transformed from an underperforming school into a high-achieving school characterized by positive climate, an extremely orderly and inviting educational environment, and engaging instruction that actively involves students in the learning process,” said Winters, a Sun City resident.

-�Cole Young, principal of Humboldt Elementary in Humboldt, in the Humboldt Unified School District.

“I am fortunate enough to receive on average a hundred hugs a day, which keeps me focused and motivated on our mission. Each of those hugs serves as a reminder of the responsibility we have to our children and community. Our mission is to provide a safe environment that ensures student achievement, without excuses,” said Young, a Humboldt resident.

The Rodel Exemplary Principal Initiative, which also will name two exemplary principals in Pima County, is supported through funding from JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Carstens Family Fund, Dr. Herschel and Jill Rosenzweig Donor Advised Fund, Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, Helios Education Foundation and Arizona State University.