Marcia S. ElliottMarcia S. Elliott
West Stafford School
Stafford School District
Stafford Springs, Connecticut

Marcia Elliott serves the most disadvantaged students in her district. Yet since she assumed the principalship of West Stafford School in 2003, the Pre-K-1 school has improved its academic status from the lowest-performing to the highest-performing school in its rural district. Elliott improved reading achievement by establishing a four-year development partnership with the Hanson Initiative for Language and Literacy that “changed the way we operate as a school,” she says. She also implemented a new model for teacher training and methods for analyzing and using data from student assessments to improve instruction. By integrating programs serving 201 young children—including pre-kindergarten, Head Start, School Readiness, and Family Resource Center—Elliott and her staff “make it possible for any child in Stafford to attend two years of pre-kindergarten” in a program accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Elliott has fostered her staff’s commitment to sustaining a professional learning community in the school. Using a staff-chosen topic to focus professional learning each year—such as brain research and learning this year—the teachers enhance their instructional practices through learning in book study teams, discussions at staff meetings, and an online forum for sharing new learning. She earned a B.A. from Manhattanville College in New York and an M.A. and Ed.D. from the University of Connecticut in Storrs.