Going from Good to Great

Today’s guest post is written by Jessica Reisner, Principal of Tarkington School of Excellence. 

I’m in my second year as a Chicago public school principal. As the principal of Tarkington School of Excellence, a level 1+ school in the Marquette Park neighborhood, I knew our school was good and moving in the right direction, but I needed to be intentional and strategic about how to take our school to the next level.

One of my core commitments is to continue to be a learner. I am constantly pushing my teachers to grow, and I am aware of the importance of me continuing to learn as their leader. As an AUSL school leader, I believe that I have the highest quality professional development available to me through our network. That said, I recognize the importance of growing through multiple opportunities. so I see a Professional Learning Community (PLC) with other high-caliber principals as that natural next step.

I’m a member of the Good to Great PLC led by Melissa Zaikos. One of the reasons I decided to participate in this PLC in particular was for the opportunity to get a diversity of opinion. In Melissa’s PLC, we have new principals, experienced principals, and principals from AUSL, charter and district schools. Despite serving in different school types, we have so much in common as leaders.

I’ve really appreciate the responsiveness of Melissa as a leader. Before and during the first session, we took time to get to know the group. This foundation allowed for a level of comfort with sharing and being vulnerable that wouldn’t have happened without dedicating this time to do so.

The work we are doing in our PLC is highly experiential and job-embedded. I am able to take what I’m learning in collaboration with my principal colleagues and bring it back to Tarkington. This allows for me to provide the highest quality PD for my staff and assistant principals.

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