Tiffany D. Brown is entering her sixth year at Wendell Smith Elementary School (Smith), where she has implemented several instructional, cultural and structural improvements. Under her leadership, Smith has seen tremendous growth from Level 3 to a Level 1+ status on the district’s School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP). Smith is a personalized learning school with one-to-one device access for all students between the third to eighth grades, a balanced literacy school, and a school that prioritizes social and emotional learning (SEL) through its curriculum and use of restorative practices. Tiffany is particularly proud of the teacher talent that has driven many of these successes and highlights that several members of her staff have gone on to become resident principals, principals, and district leaders. She is also grateful for the strong community partnerships that Smith has established with Metropolitan Family Services, Gately Park, the South Side Community Action Council (CAC) and Chicago Neighborhood Initiative (CNI), among many others.
Moving forward, Tiffany hopes to continue closing the achievement gap by increasing the math and reading attainment of the students at Smith. In order to do so, she will emphasize the importance of differentiated small group instruction and creating an environment that supports the well-being of the whole child, both academically and emotionally. Tiffany believes that personalized learning will continue to provide students with a diverse variety of educational programs, instructional approaches and academic support strategies that will meet the distinct needs, aspirations and cultural backgrounds of individual students. The entire school will remain committed to project-based learning.
Tiffany began her career as a scientist. She received a full academic science scholarship and obtained her bachelor’s degree in chemistry. After graduating, she worked across several different sectors as a chemist, beginning at Abbott Laboratory in pharmaceuticals before transitioning to gynecology and the meat industry. While Tiffany enjoyed the rigor of math and science, she missed having the satisfaction of directly helping others. She returned to school to complete her teaching certificate and spent four years in the classroom before becoming a math science coach. She continued her education with a master’s degree in educational leadership and formally transitioned into her career as an administrator by serving as an assistant principal within Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL). Two years later, Tiffany began her principal role at Smith.
Tiffany believes that collaborative communities of practice that foster input from administrators and teachers on issues related to instructional practice and academic achievement will create a shared purpose for Smith, and lead to higher levels of student learning. She plans to continue empowering teacher leaders in her building through relevant professional learning opportunities and effective evaluation practices, improving instructional capacity, and investing in a strong school culture and climate. She is excited to continue stretching and growing as a leader through the Fellowship opportunity.