Rodel names Darlene Johnson an Exemplary Principal
Darlene Johnson of Holmes Elementary is one of Arizona's 10 Rodel Exemplary Principals for 2012. Johnson will receive $2,500, and she will mentor three aspiring principals during the next two years.
Darlene Johnson is the principal of Holmes Elementary School in Mesa Public Schools.
She has devoted 28 years to education, including nine years teaching special education, six years teaching grades five and six, more than one year as an assistant middle school principal and 12 years as an elementary school principal.
Johnson is most proud of the Holmes Roadrunner students. "The parents of our community entrust us with their most treasured children," she said.
Johnson earned a bachelor's degree in physical education and a master's in special education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
On being inspired to lead: "Colleagues inspired me to become a principal, and passion drove me to achieve this goal. I have worked with outstanding educators who guided me in various leadership experiences. Their encouragement and support enlightened me about the potential I possessed as an instructional leader. As I assumed leadership positions, my passion in working with students and for students drove me to become a principal. Being principal of a school is an enormous responsibility with the greatest rewards, on a daily basis."
A tip for new principals: "Be learners. They will be asked questions and be put in situations that they do not have answers to. They need to know it is okay to take time to process and seek advice. It is their job to learn and seek those answers, but it is okay not to have an immediate response. To be thoughtful and to seek information is better than an immediate answer. Principals need to evaluate their decisions based on what is best for the students."
On setting high expectations: "First, you must set high expectations as the instructional leader. I believe in high achievement and guide that conviction in my daily work through modeling and communicating. I work collaboratively with staff to create goals that set high learning targets for our students. Students see and hear these goals set for grade-level teams and for our school. Students have ownership in academic success as they set goals and monitor their own progress. Academic success and doing your personal best is a daily message I share on morning TV announcements. Our academic goals are shared with all stakeholders."
Rodel Exemplary Principal Initiative
Courtesy of The Arizona Republic | azcentral.com: Full story