From Remote to Hands-On
Topics: Pandemic Leadership
Tiffany Emanuel-Wright launched her career in education with Duval County (Florida) Public Schools in 2003 as a first-grade teacher. She moved up to the position of reading coach, then became assistant principal at Duval County Public Schools’ first full-time virtual instruction program, the Duval Virtual Instruction Academy (DVIA) in 2010.
With the desire to lead a brick-and-mortar school awakened, Emanuel-Wright served as an AP at two elementary schools and was appointed principal of Love Grove Elementary School in 2014. There, she focuses on standards-based instruction to foster student success and was able to move the school’s performance three grade levels in as many years.
Emanuel-Wright now has her sights set on an A rating for Love Grove, backed by a county fellowship that emphasizes culturally responsive teaching practices. “My goals for Love Grove Elementary are to sustain a culture of academic excellence and create a pipeline of diverse students who love learning and are successful in life,” she says.
What is one of your favorite leadership moments?
Witnessing my school move from grade F to grade B! It was incredibly rewarding to partner with my leadership team, teachers, staff, and students in accomplishing that transition.
What was the best book you read this summer?
Principaled: Navigating the Leadership Learning Curve by Kate Barker, Kourtney Ferrua, and Rachael George. I was inspired by the reminder to find your people and leverage the power of mentors. To paraphrase, we all need people who can pump us up, give us energy, and support us unconditionally, but we also need people who will give us transparent feedback, no matter where we are in our educational careers.
What underscored Love Grove’s “Unity” theme in the 2020–2021 school year?
The Unity theme was underscored by our school theme: “Masterful Manatees … Going for Gold!” The term “masterful” emphasized our focus on student mastery of state standards. Inspired by the 2020 Summer Olympics, the goal was to emphasize cultural harmony, acceptance, and a belief in achieving the pinnacle of success—gold!
Did your experience in virtual learning give you any advantages when COVID hit?
My knowledge of virtual platforms and synchronous instruction, and the affiliations I built with other virtual school providers and platforms as one of the original leadership team members of the Duval Virtual Instruction Academy, facilitated a seamless transition to online learning during COVID.
Do you have any hidden talents that aid in your role?
I originally aspired to be a television journalist [and] attended New York University’s graduate program with a concentration in broadcast journalism. Although I didn’t pursue a career in journalism, my talents enhance my ability to deliver engaging messages during our daily WLGM school morning show.
How are you taking advantage of your Fellowship in Leadership & Management?
The three-year Jacksonville Public Education Fund’s Nina Waters Fellowship for Leadership & Management is allowing me to guide my campus through an ongoing self-assessment of instructional best practices to overcome cultural barriers that hinder student achievement.