Cheryl S. Clark
Ernest Stapleton Elementary School
Rio Rancho Schools
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
In her nine years as a leader of Ernest Stapleton Elementary School, three as assistant principal and six as principal, Cheryl S. Clark has cultivated an inclusive school culture that celebrates diversity and takes a systematic and collaborative approach to serving all 835 of its students. Following the award of a large grant, Clark used the funds to advance the school’s social-emotional learning efforts, implementing a “soft start” period for an easier transition into the school day for Stapleton’s large student body and integrating positive behavioral referrals to augment the school’s PBIS practices. This funding was also leveraged to facilitate professional development and individualized coaching for teachers in the practice of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning, which teachers are now modeling for other schools in their district. Clark has also led the refinement of Stapleton’s data cycles to enhance Tier 1 instruction, make more targeted interventions for students struggling to achieve proficiency, and address the social and emotional needs of students in collaboration with the school’s Health and Wellness Team. Clark met the challenge of leading Stapleton through COVID with calm and creativity, leading an effective redesign of the curriculum to accommodate distance and hybrid learning, all while continuing to sustain strong relationships with students, family, and community members. Clark holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Lamar University, as well as a Teacher Certification and a Master in Education from New Mexico Highlands University.