Elementary principal Kaylee Harrell is a boss almost-mom in Ohio! She leads her building, a fitness coaching business through BeachBody, and is expecting her first child! She is one of the first principals to reach out to us when we started The Modern Principal, excited to connect on being a young woman in leadership. Read more on her thoughts and philosophies to celebrate Principal's Month!
1. How do you promote equity in your building?
Our building leadership team works very hard to ensure equity within our building, meeting each child's needs. First we look at our building master schedule and make sure that all students have access to tier 1 instruction. We then utilize the RTI process and grade level data team days to look closely at our students' needs and create intervention schedules based on each student. Our intervention specialist and gifted intervention specialist co-teach within classrooms to support and scaffold during tier 1 instruction. Each child may need something a little bit different to be successful and we work together to provide services and supports to meet those needs. 2. What's the number one root problem you are currently working to solve? Getting into classroom for instructional rounds. It is part of my morning routine to visit each classroom following morning announcements. Being present and visible during arrival, dismissal, lunch and recess are important to me. Being visible to students allows for me to make connections and form relationships. It also decreases discipline referrals. My goal is to be able to be in classrooms for 10-15 minutes, simply to be present for instruction. I struggle to schedule this outside of formal classroom observations. I am working on a schedule and trying to make this time a non-negotiable where I am not interrupted but managerial tasks/discipline are often unforeseen and trump this scheduled time. 3. How do you personally connect with staff members? Connecting with staff and letting them know that you are invested in them, not only as a teacher/educator but also as a person is very important. Asking staff how they're doing and how their family is doing and getting to know them on a more personable level creates and strengthens a relationship. I am an advocate for family first. I believe that our school family can accomplish anything if we support and encourage one another and communicating to my staff that their family comes first and that they can let me know if anything is going on helps them to be their best when at school. I also believe in frequent feedback, praise, recognition and encouragement. I like to do small staff pick-me-ups once a month, send emails and write small notes showing and communicating my appreciation. 4. What is your 'philosophy' on how to have difficult and direct conversations with staff?Although it can be hard, I believe that it is best to be direct and honest. I do not believe in addressing a whole group when the conversation needs to be with one or two people. I am honest and let staff know that I do care about them but that we have to work together to address and resolve the conflict or situation. I also believe that the conversation has to be timely. 5. What's your easiest/best tip for looking fly?
I am a big advocate for self-care and investing in myself so that I can invest in others. I exercise before work so that often takes time out of my morning. My style is tailored, timeless and chic. I like simple, staple pieces (black/navy dress pants/skirts, solid blouses and a few suit dresses). I also love leggings with oversized sweaters for fall and especially right now since rocking my tailored look at 5 months pregnant is a little bit harder ;). For moments where you're really on the go...a good mascara and a statement necklace always dresses up an outfit.