Christine B. Christensen
Woodrow Wilson Elementary School
Granite School District
South Salt Lake, Utah
With a background as an instructional coach, Christine Christensen has spent the last seven years of her 18-year career as principal of Woodrow Wilson Elementary, a K-5 school serving 300 students, all of whom receive free and reduced-price meals. In that time, Christensen has demonstrated impressive turnaround leadership, resting on her strengths in professional development, collaborative intervention, trauma-informed practices, and cultivating strong school-community partnerships. When she first assumed leadership in 2016, Wilson’s proficiencies were so lagging that the school earned an F on its report card and was identified as a turnaround school by the state. Christensen set out to increase teacher capacity for quality Tier 1 instruction and establish systematic interventions for students needing more time and support to achieve content fluency. These efforts were supported by extensive professional development, highly structured and collaborative PLCs, and a variety of SEL and family support initiatives that aim to put students on more equitable footing by meeting immediate health and nutritional needs. In the classroom, the use of the Feelings Thermometer and self-regulation zones help reduce behavioral referrals and increase time for instruction. Under Christensen’s leadership, these efforts helped Wilson exit turnaround status in 2019, and the school earned a B on its 2022 school report card. Christensen holds M.Ed. and B.S. degrees from Brigham Young University.