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Hope of Detroit Academy had the privilege of going on an immersive virtual journey. ALL of the students over the age of 7 (grades 2-8) got to go on the excursion. How did they get the funds to do something so outrageously adventurous? Google Expeditions. Giuliana Tirella, 2nd Grade teacher signed up online for the pioneer program and about 60 "google goggles" were sent to the school to use for the whole day.
Jean Chlebek got to witness the students interactions first hand. She asked to look into the goggles several times as the students were climbing the statue of liberty. "I looked down, and my feet were on the brick paved sidewalk of New York, I turned, and I saw the harbor behind me. We went inside The Statue of Liberty and climbed the stairs, it was like I was right there," said Ms. Chlebek enthusiastically. It was a great opportunity for these kids to see something they might not have seen otherwise.
Dr. Melissa Rivers, school leader at South Ridge High School in Phoenix, Arizona was named Rodel Principal Finalist. Dr. Rivers is the only charter school principal to be selected for this distinctive honor.
The Rodel Foundation Press Release:
Rodel Announces 2016 Exemplary Principal Finalists
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (January 5, 2016) – The Rodel Foundation of Arizona has named 15 finalists for the 2016 Rodel Exemplary Principal Award. These finalists from schools in high-need communities have been selected for their demonstrated ability to inspire their staff to contribute to school-wide success and the development of a campus that is high achieving, safe, orderly and welcoming.
Mr. Frank Armenta Cholla High Magnet School Tucson Unified Tucson
Ms. Shannon Bonnette Richard E. Miller School Washington Elementary Phoenix
Ms. Karie Burns Surprise Elementary Dysart Unified El Mirage
Mr. Frank Garcia John Q. Thomas Elementary Flagstaff Unified Flagstaff
Ms. Lillian Linn Avondale Middle School Avondale Elementary Avondale
Dr. Bennett MacKinney Echo Mountain Intermediate Paradise Valley Unified Phoenix
Ms. Kate McDonald South Mountain High Phoenix Union High School Phoenix
Mr. Chad Miller Homer Davis Elementary Flowing Wells Unified Tucson
Ms. Kathryn Mullery Connolly Middle School Tempe Elementary Tempe
Dr. Gregory Reid Entz Elementary Mesa Public Schools Mesa
Dr. Melissa Rivers South Ridge High School The Leona Group, LLC Phoenix
Dr. Daniel Schulter Dodge Traditional Magnet
Ms. Lori Sheffield Castle Dome Middle School Yuma Elementary District Yuma
Dr. Michele Wilson Westview High School Tolleson Union High School Avondale
Ms. Stacie Zanzucchi Coconino High School Flagstaff Unified Flagstaff
The finalists have been through a rigorous process to reach this point. Each was nominated by his or her district superintendent. Researchers then reviewed the nominees, examined school data, visited campuses, interviewed the candidates, and met with teachers and staff. From these finalists, the 2016 Rodel Exemplary Principal cohort will be announced in early January 2016 through media partnerships, on Rodel’s social media pages and at rodelaz.org.
“A great principal builds and supports a school culture where students, staff, teachers and community members can work together to provide the best education and opportunities for all students,” said Jackie Norton, Rodel President & CEO. “We’re proud to recognize the leadership qualities exhibited by these outstanding principals, and look forward to working with them as they mentor and inspire the school leaders of tomorrow."
“Rodel Exemplary Principals represent some of the best school leaders that Arizona has to offer,” said Howard Paley, Rodel Chief Operating Officer. “Our Principal Initiative is an opportunity to recognize these leaders. But more importantly we want these leaders to mentor aspiring leaders and provide an exemplary network of school leaders to connect across our great state.”
Rodel, in partnership with Social Venture Partners of Arizona, developed the Rodel Exemplary Principal Initiative to recognize outstanding school principals and populate a pipeline of highly skilled school leaders for Arizona’s high-need schools. Each cohort of Exemplary Principals provides professional development, field experience, and ongoing mentorship to a class of Rodel Aspiring Principals for two years. After learning from the best, these Aspiring Principals are better prepared to lead their own high-need schools.
The Rodel Foundation of Arizona’s vision is for Arizona to have one of the best pre-kindergarten through grade 12 educational systems in the country by 2020. For more information on the Foundation’s mission and initiatives, contact Rodel at 480-367-2920 or visit www.rodelaz.org.