Phyllis J. Konchar
St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School
Diocese of Des Moines
National Catholic Educational Association
Des Moines, Iowa

“Student achievement is likely to be greatest where teachers and administrators work together, in small groups and schoolwide, to identify sources of student success and then work collectively to implement school improvement,” says Phyllis Konchar. With this understanding of a key factor that drives academic success, Konchar takes particular pride in having created a collaborative environment in her school. Konchar has been principal of St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School for more than 11 years. The urban pre-kindergarten through grade 8 school serves 190 students today. Konchar has made a priority of focusing on school improvement efforts. She takes care to manage school resources to support goals for student achievement and to align school scheduling and opportunities for staff development with school improvement goals. She also seeks input and participation in the school improvement process from all major constituents of the school, including teachers, administrators, parents, and students. Using data on student performance, Konchar works with her staff to determine needs in the areas of curriculum, materials, and professional training. By providing time and training, she ensures that teachers regularly collect, analyze, and use data to inform instruction. She also ensures that they set high expectations for the social, emotional, and academic development of all their students. She earned a B.S. from Iowa State University and an M.A. from Drake University in Iowa.