Maribel T. ChildressMaribel T. Childress
Monitor Elementary School
Springdale Public Schools
Springdale, Arkansas

The most important thing a principal does, says Maribel Childress, is to hire well. “Hiring the best teachers,” she says, “eliminates 90 percent of the potential management issues” that could consume time needed for instructional leadership. During the past decade, Childress has held principalships at two high-poverty schools serving large Hispanic and Marshallese student populations. For each of the 10 years, her students have met standards on state exams, enabling the schools to make Adequate Yearly Progress. Childress arrived at Monitor Elementary School in 2007. She has focused on both students’ and teachers’ learning needs at the small-town K-5 school of 595 students. During the summer, her faculty meets every Monday to study achievement data and plan for students’ success. A leader of professional development in her field, Childress has presented to national audiences on topics that include strategies for serving students with limited English proficiency, innovative reading practices, parent involvement, and effective after-school programs. Faced with pronounced levels of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease among the demographic groups served by her schools, Childress actively advocates for health and wellness. She has won grants worth more than $100,000 to establish educational programs promoting healthful living among students and their families. Childress also has sought and received more than $500,000 in grants to support student learning. She earned a B.A. and an M.A. at Louisiana Tech University.