Meet the National Principals Advisory Board

Susan Buchanan


Name:
Susan Buchanan
School: Helen Tyson Middle School, Springdale, AR
Bio: Susan Buchanan has been an educator for 23 years and served as a principal for 10 years, including 5 years at Helen Tyson Middle School. Susan is most proud of her school staff’s total commitment to student academic success. As a principal, her greatest concern is meeting the sub-population’s academic needs. One of Susan’s educational goals for her school is to see marked improvement for every student in the area of reading comprehension throughout the content areas, which would be demonstrated by increased reading comprehension scores on the state benchmark tests. Helen Tyson Middle School was recognized as a National “Diamond School to Watch” in 2007-2008 and also a Shannon Wright Award winner in 1997.

Affiliations:

  • Arkansas Association of Middle Level Administrators
  • Arkansas Administrators Educational Association

Comments or questions? Contact Susan to share your news and views.

Clay Connor


Name:
Clay Connor
School: Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School 
Bio: Clay Connor has been an educator for 21 years and served as a principal for 10 years. This is his first year at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary. As principal, Clay is most concerned with improving student achievement and having a rigorous, well rounded curriculum. He believes he will reach his goal of improving student achievement and will know through test scores and other quantitative data and qualitative data. Clay is extremely proud of the community atmosphere within his school. 

Affiliation:

  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Comments or questions? Contact Clay to share your news and views.

Dr. Robert Furman

Name: Dr. L. Robert Furman
School: South Park Elementary Center
Bio:Dr. Robert Furman has been an educator for 13 years and a principal for 5 years, including 3 years at South Park Elementary. As principal, his greatest sense of pride comes from his school staff and their willingness to make the necessary changes to help their students. As a principal, Robert is greatly concerned about reading and worries it has become a means to take and complete a state test. “We are not teaching good reading skills, we are simply teaching enough to win a score on a test,” says Robert. Therefore, one of his biggest goals is to increase reading proficiency to above 80% in 3rd and 4th grade. Robert has implemented the Accelerated Reader program in his school, and he will be closely watching student scores to see if achievement increases.

Affiliations:

  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals
  • PAS

Comments or questions? Contact Robert to share your news and views.
Shari Furtwangler


Name:
Shari Furtwangler
School: Thurston Elementary
Bio: Shari Furtwangler has been an educator for 26 years. Most recently, she has been the principal for the last 6 years at Thurston Elementary. Shari is proud of her amazing staff because they are “consistently willing to go the extra mile to make sure that they are meeting the needs of the students and helping them to be successful,” she says. As a principal, Shari’s greatest concern is ensuring that at-risk students learn to read at a proficient level. “Reading is a gateway skill, and children must learn to be proficient readers in order to experience success at almost any level,” she stresses. “That’s why we want to help all students to read at proficient levels.” Shari wants her students to develop a love of reading and a love of learning. “When all students are meeting benchmarks for their grade level, when they are demonstrating consistent growth in their reading scores, and when they are choosing to read in their free time, we’ll know we’ve accomplished our goal,” she adds.

Affiliations:
  • Oregon Reading Association
  • International Reading Association
  • Confederation of Oregon School Administrators
  • Oregon Association of Elementary School Principals
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Comments or questions? Contact Shari to share your news and views.

Steven Geis


Name:
Dr. Steven Geis
School: North Trail Elementary, West Farmington, MN
Bio: Dr. Steven Geis has been an educator for 16 years and served as a principal for 10 years, including 3 years at North Trail Elementary. Steven is most proud of his students. He loves witnessing how much they are learning and loving to read. “Our parents and community create a climate of cooperation with our school where student possibilities are endless,” he says. As a principal, his greatest concern is meeting the needs of every student and focusing on literacy. One of Steven’s educational goals is to have all students reading at their grade level, which the school will measure using the NWEA and classroom assessments.

Affiliations:

  • President of South Suburban Division of MN Elementary Principals Association
  • Japanese Memorial Fulbright Fund
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • NISL National Institute for School Leadership
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
  • Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s University

Comments or questions? Contact Steven to share your news and views.

Helen Giles


Name:
Helen Giles
School: Classical Studies Academy
Bio: Helen Giles has been an educator for 12 years and a principal at the Classical Studies Academy for 2 years. Helen is very proud of her students and their potential for greatness.  “I am also proud of the efforts on behalf of the staff, parents and community partnerships,” she says. Helen’s greatest concern is to instill in the students a great love for reading and she has a sincere desire that all of the students function at their highest potential.  “I believe this can be accomplished once the students gain a strong foundation in reading and math”.  Helen will know this goal has been achieved when there are notable improvements in the district benchmark assessments and state mandated tests.  “Additionally, I am looking to see excitement exuded by the students about what is going on in the classroom,” she says. “We are working diligently to ensure that best practices are in place, such as using data to inform instruction, allowing time for teacher collaboration, parent involvement, creating and sustaining community partnerships and having a shared vision”.

Affiliations:

  • Member of Association for Supervison and Curriculum Development
  • Board member of Omicron Upsilon Omega Foundation
  • Member Of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Member of South Norwalk Charter School Planning Team
  • Member of the Board of Directors – United Way of Coastal Fairfield County
Comments or questions? Contact Helen to share your news and views.
Gail Healy

Name: Gail Healy
School:  Pioneer Valley Regional School District
Bio: Gail Healy has been an educator for 29 years; 1 year as Assistant to the Superintendent, 20 years as a principal.  Gail previously served as the principal of Four Corners Elementary School, a visitation site for the Responsive Classroom model for the Northeast Foundation for Children.  Her school also won the Compass School Award from the state of Massachusetts for raising student achievement. Gail is working with principals in her district to develop consistency in curriculum, use data analysis to guide instruction, and raising student achievement.  Her new school community is very invested and supportive of all the schools, with parents and the community very involved in their local schools.

Affiliations:

  • Massachusetts Elementary Principals Association
  • Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools
  • Adjunct Professor at American International College
Comments or questions? Contact Gail to share your news and views.
Elizabeth Hostin

Name: Elizabeth Hostin
School: Martha Reid Elementary School
Bio: Elizabeth Hostin has been an educator for 26 years and served as a principal for 9 years, including 5 years at Martha Reid Elementary School. She is most proud of her student’s numerous successes, whether they are academic, social, physical, or behavioral. Elizabeth is also proud of her teacher’s growth and willingness to do whatever it takes to help children be successful. Elizabeth believes children should be encouraged to think and communicate their thoughts and ideas. A key goal for her school to achieve a state educational ranking of Exemplary based on student assessment. Her personal priorities are her faith, her family, and encouraging those around her to enjoy life!

Affiliations:

  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association
  • Adjunct professor at DBU
Comments or questions? Contact Elizabeth to share your news and views.
Barbara Kargas


Name:
Barbara Kargas
School: Goethe Elementary School
Bio: Barbara Kargas has been an educator for 34 years and served as a principal for 2 years at Goethe Elementary.  The Goethe spirit that runs throughout the school gives Barbara a great sense of pride. Everyone is a part of the team, working to serve the good of the school by doing as much as they can. “My greatest concern is how the demands in our school system keep growing and the funding to our schools keeps shrinking. We are asking people to do more with less support and resources. Teachers are stretched too thin and children are not getting everything they need to reach their greatest potential,” she says. “One of my number one goals is to have leveled libraries and leveled content books for each and every classroom in the school.” Barbara’s school is in a low income neighborhood in the heart of the city. They continually strive to maintain number one status in their regional area and work diligently to raise funds to bring technological resources into each classroom in our school.

Comments or questions? Contact Barbara to share your news and views.

Yvonne Kittrell


Name:
Yvonne Kittrell
School: Rutland Elementary
Bio: Yvonne Kittrell has been an educator for 28 years and served as a principal for 14 years, including 10 years at Rutland Elementary. Yvonne takes great pride in the cohesiveness of her faculty. “Everyone has a caring and loving attitude towards each other and to all students,” she says. As a principal, she is concerned about the amount of quality time families spend together. “Children spend far too much time in front of the TV, on the computer, and playing electronic games,” she adds. Yvonne plans to host many family night events to encourage family time. She also plans to develop an incentive program around the Tennessee state standards because they are changing next year and she wants to be assured that her student’s math scores will be as good as their reading scores. “The incentive program will entice students to want to memorize the facts,” she says.

Affiliations:

  • TN Teachers Association
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
  • Professional Educators of TN
  • Advisory Board for Governor’s Pre K Program

Comments or questions? Contact Yvonne to share your news and views.

Lynn Medici

Name: Lynn Medici
School: Dougherty Elementary School
Bio: Lynn Medici has been an educator for 26 years and served as principal for 8 years, including 3 years at Dougherty Elementary School. Lynn takes pride in her fantastic students, their community, and the parents who support the school. Lynn is very  concerned about student achievement, and one of her educational goals for the school is for 100% of all students to meet or exceed grade level standards. Lynn is committed to developing life-long learners.

Affiliations:

  • Association of California School Administrators

Comments or questions? Contact Lynn to share your news and views.

Eric Messer


Name:
Eric Messer
School: Mason Heights Elementary School
Bio: Eric Messer has been an educator for 12 years and a principal at Mason Heights Primary School for 4 years. Eric is most proud of his student's achievement and the academic progress they have made. Helping students that are economically disadvantaged or have parents that are not involved in the school reach educational benchmarks is one of Eric's concerns. "One goal that I want our entire staff to reach is to develop a more culturally diverse curriculum and to make sure all students reach their potential," he says

Comments or questions? Contact Eric to share your news and views.

Mary Nardo


Name:
Dr. Mary Nardo
School: North Side Elementary School
Bio: Dr. Mary Nardo has been an educator for 15 years and served as a principal for 7 years, including 5 years at North Side Elementary School. Mary believes that her school family is “the most beautiful, caring, diverse group.” Student work is proudly displayed throughout the school and provides evidence that academic rigor is a top priority for them. Testing data for Mary’s school shows that 16 percent of her students are basic or below basic in reading and many of the most at-risk students lack the motivation to read more. “When one or two out of every ten students is reading below basic level of proficiency, it’s unacceptable to us,” she says. “We want all of our students to be proficient or advanced in reading according to any assessment we administer at any time. We understand that the shift in our literacy effort is centered in students experiencing the magical moment when they stop reading the book and the book starts reading to them!" While assessments are important, we’d also like to see all students actively engaged in reading throughout the school day in a variety of settings,” she adds. “That would be a great achievement.”

Affiliations:

  • National Reading Association
  • National Council for the Teachers of Mathematics
  • Phi Delta Kappa International
  • Association for Curriculum and Instruction

Comments or questions? Contact Mary to share your news and views.

Dr. Ines J.L. Schmook


Name:
Dr. Ines M.L. Schmook
School: Lake Orienta Elementary School
Bio: Dr. Ines M.L. Schmook has been an educator for 28 years and served as a principal for 16 years, including two and one-half years at Lake Orienta Elementary School, which is one of the top elementary schools when it comes to technology. Ines strives to maintain a balance between the academic needs and the emotional needs of her students. Her school’s main educational goal is for Lake Orienta to make AYP (Annual Yearly Progress). This is Ines’ third year as principal of Lake Orienta Elementary, and their focus on reaching the goal of not only making AYP, but also becoming an “A” school has paid off. “Having missed by only one student last year,” she says. “I am happy to announce that Lake Orienta is now an “A” school, thanks to the hard work of faculty and students!”

Comments or questions? Contact Ines to share your news and views.

Scott Sheffield


Name:
Dr. Scott Sheffield
School: Cypress School of the Arts
Bio: Scott Sheffield has been an educator for 9 years and served as a principal for nearly 2 years at the Cypress School of the Arts. As a principal, Scott’s greatest sense of pride comes from his staff. They are top-notch and truly have a passion for educating students. Being a school that just transitioned from a 6th grade elementary school to a K-6 parent choice elementary school (both public and within the Hesperia Unified School District), Scott has found a need for books geared toward the K-6 audience. “We’ve purchased more than 1,000 books recently, but we still have a bit to go as we continue to grow and expand,” he says. One of Scott’s goals for students who attend Cypress School of the Arts from kindergarten through sixth grade is to become fluent in Spanish and learn to play the piano and one other instrument by the time they leave school. Scott has previously worked as a special education teacher and a sixth grade teacher, as well as an assistant principal, an ExCEL trainer, and an Assistant Professor of Education at Chapman University.

Affiliations:

  • Association of California School Administrators
  • Pi Lambda Theta
  • Assistant Professor of Education, Chapman University
  • Pharmacy Science/Technician Instructor
  • Association Supervision and Curriculum Development

Comments or questions? Contact Scott to share your news and views.
Marie Waldrop


Name:
Marie Waldrop
School: Irmo Middle School
Bio
: Marie Waldrop has been an educator for 21 years and served as a principal for 14 years, including 10 years at Irmo Middle School. Marie is proud of Irmo Middle School because they are a child-centered school. “We understand the importance of high rigor in academics, but we also understand that we must seek to realize the individuality of each student and serve as role models for their social, emotional, and academic development,” she says. She believes students are more successful if they have specific goals they are trying to achieve. This is why one of her goals for Irmo Middle School is for each student to establish a career goal, map out strategies to achieve that goal, and achieve academic success in their middle years. Marie has two passions in life: she is committed to the education of middle school students, and she is very passionate about law enforcement and even serves as an active Reserve Deputy for the Richland County Sheriff’s department.

Affiliations:

  1. South Carolina Association for School Administrators (SCASA)
  2. South Carolina Association for School Resource Officers (SCASRO)

Comments or questions? Contact Marie to share your news and views.

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