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Karen K. Heizer
Hoover Elementary School
Enid Public Schools
Enid, Oklahoma

The simple, yet compelling statement, “Every child, every chance, every way, every day,” is the vision and call to action underlying the breakthrough school improvement at Hoover Elementary School. Under the leadership of Principal Karen K. Heizer, the high-poverty, 30 percent Special Education student body of 330 has steadily made benchmark test gains resulting in 98 percent of students scoring advanced or proficient in all areas. As a result, the prekindergarten through fifth grade school was named the town’s first National Blue Ribbon School of Improvement in 2011-2012 and received an A+ report card from the state DOE for the 2012-2013 school year. Heizer’s school-wide instructional strategy includes a first semester “data dig” for each student using multiple assessments to determine strengths and weaknesses and a second-semester after school intervention for students with the greatest needs. When they advance, students have the option to become peer tutors. For the whole school, professional learning communities are at the heart of the child-centered approach with Heizer meeting regularly with staff to discuss, problem-solve, design creative schedules, and establish school-wide procedures so that teachers have the resources and support they need for teaching and learning. As for the recent recognitions, Heizer terms these, “icing on the cake,” saying her greatest accomplishment is not just about the destination. “Having the opportunity to guide my school through this wonderfully enlightening and joyful journey has been the highlight of my career as an elementary school principal,” she says. Heizer’s credentials include a B.S. in Elementary Education from Panhandle State University and an M.A. in Education and Administration from Phillips Private University.