Maple Grove Principal Goes to Washington as part of Principals at ED Initiative
Kimberly Tierney, principal of Maple Grove Elementary School, was chosen to meet with U.S. secretary of education Arne Duncan and other senior US Department of Education officials in Washington, D.C. last month as part of the new Principals at ED initiative.
The Education Department brought innovative and successful principals from across the country to learn more about federal programs and share their personal experiences and perspectives. The Department’s Principal Ambassador Fellow (PAF) program arranged the visit.
Tierney was selected to take part in the day based on a reference from Kelly Pollitt, the Associate Executive Director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
“This is one of the most inspirational opportunities I have ever been given. Being able to represent the Waukee Community School District and share the great initiatives that are in place each day throughout our district was a dream. It was incredible to work alongside such genuine, hardworking, intellectual and fearless leaders who represent some of the most demanding schools across the country. I am most grateful to have learned about their schools, leadership styles, the students they serve and their unwavering commitment to education,” Tierney said.
The group had several roundtable conversations focusing on federal policy and the reformation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Future Ready Schools, Special Education, English Language Learners and Early Learning.
“Our entire principal team truly felt that our perspectives were heard, valued and taken into consideration. The department has an unwavering desire to do what is best for the kids. What I took away was that Duncan and senior advisors recognize the same concerns and challenges that we have at both the state and local levels. Many of the conversations we have in regard to testing, policy appropriations, early childhood, technology and special education are consistent,” Tierney said.
Tierney presented information on Waukee Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS), Professional Learning Communities and the current implementation and plan for Teacher Leadership (TLC). The senior staff at the department was aware of the great work Iowa is doing on TLC and the positive impact it is having on students.
“It is important that our legislators hear regularly from educators. The United States Department of Education really wants to hear from practitioners in the field. If we in education are proud of the work we are doing here in Waukee, or if we have a strong opinion in regard to improvement in our field, then by all means, contact Secretary Arne Duncan and his senior staff. They really do value our opinions. Furthermore, I would like to encourage educators to contact and provide more input to our legislators who ultimately impact our education policies,” Tierney said.