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Rachel L. Jones
Gurney Elementary School
Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

As principal of Gurney Elementary School, Rachel L. Jones rates continuing professional growth for herself, staff, and educators nationally as one of her primary accomplishments. Jones has made it a priority to understand staff learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses and to ensure that they are well-versed in data collection and analysis methods to inform instructional decision-making. Jones actively facilitates collaborative teacher groups and provides ongoing recognition of their hard work, innovation, leadership, and flexibility. Creating a culture where capacity-building and leadership are desired and admired by colleagues at the 540-student, prekindergarten through third grade school, she has effectively supported ten staff members through the process of earning a National Board Certification for Teachers. This credential has transformed these teachers into powerful instructional coaches for the school, says Jones. On their own, they now observe peers and offer support, research new instructional strategies, and invite all staff to participate in before and after school book meetings on topics such as bullying and more. Beyond school boundaries, Jones has also made an impact through participation in the district technology committee as chair of the K-12 Science Curriculum committee, as a member of the county new principal mentorship program, and as a member of the international Building Better Schools Institute. She has also traveled to China with the state foreign language director to hire Chinese teachers for local schools. Jones holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Kent State University as well as an M.A. in Education Leadership and Ph.D. in Education Leadership from The University of Akron.