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Christi Hildebrand
Elm Street Elementary School
Coweta County School System
Newman, Georgia

At Elm Street Elementary, students, staff, and administrators have a shared vision: “Every Learner Matters”—and no one better understands this vision than principal Christi Hildebrand. Since she arrived at Elm Street in 2009, Hildebrand has led it to become a Title I High Progress School, placing in the top 10 percent of Title I schools closing the achievement gap in the state. Under her guidance, the school also achieved the highest scores in the district on Georgia's College and Career Readiness Performance Index in 2013 and 2014 and earned a School Bell Award from the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals in 2014. According to Karen Barker, the district's Director of Curriculum, Hildebrand's success comes from her “laser-like focus on continuous improvement.” Her approaches are thoughtful and detailed, and she practices the same strategies that she encourages her staff to adopt. For example, Hildebrand spends every Thursday tutoring students who are in need of extra support. In order to reach parents, she provides easy-to-access updates via Twitter, texts, videos, and digital newsletters. By encouraging teachers to learn and grow just as much as students, Hildebrand has also helped Elm Street to become a 100 percent Gold STEM school with every teacher earning a voluntary STEM recognition. Hildebrand holds a B.A. from the University of South Florida as well as an M.A. and a Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.