Kristin (Krissy) Novy is entering her fourth year as the principal of Christopher House Charter School (Christopher House), where she has led strong improvements in curriculum, teacher leadership, school environment and student achievement. Specifically, Krissy created clear structures for better teacher collaboration and directed staff culture towards working together to create more holistic student outcomes. This transition enabled the development of teacher-created units and assessments in literacy, social studies and math that integrate the arts. Krissy also led the implementation of social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum, with a data system and supports to improve student behavior and culture. This is integrated into the school’s multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) program to help inform teachers’ understanding of the appropriate intervention. Krissy’s efforts have led to steady increases in student achievement and helped Christopher House earn Level 1 status on the district’s School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) in its first year with available data (2015-16).
To continue building on her curriculum improvements, Krissy will be focused on developing Christopher House’s Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) curriculum during the upcoming school year. She hopes to engage teacher leadership and community partners in professional learning around this effort. Krissy will also be leading an initiative to blend the emergent-learning practices in kindergarten and first grade with the personalized learning practices used for second through fifth grade. This will prepare Christopher House to begin shaping its overall pedagogy and curriculum for a middle school, which will open next school year.
Krissy has always had a deep interest in education as a form of social justice. She began her career through Teach for America in Chicago, and spent several years teaching at the middle school level before transitioning into a role as a literacy coach in 2010. Through this position, Krissy supported all teacher teams in implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and led a high-performing Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) that served as a model for the rest of the district. She also served in the inaugural cohort of the Chicago Teach Plus Fellowship to inform the development of teacher evaluation policies at the district and state levels. This experience strengthened Krissy’s passion for strong school leadership and she entered the Chicago Leadership Collaborative’s (CLC) principal residency program in 2013. As a resident principal at Rogers Elementary School, Krissy helped develop ILT and grade-level teams to engage in cycles of continuous improvement and built-out English Language Learners (ELL) practices for the culturally rich school community. After one year, she transitioned to her current role at Christopher House.
Krissy believes that schools are best suited to serve children when the talent and leadership potential of the staff is fully developed, the development of the whole child is prioritized, and families are engaged in the work and culture. During the Fellowship, she is excited to work with colleagues across the city, and collaborate around key learnings and challenges that will have a collective impact.