Cleo Perry Jr.
Cleo Perry Jr

As principal of Crestworth Elementary for the last decade, Cleo Perry, Jr. has transformed the school into a model within its district, a high-poverty, high-performing school known for its warm culture and impactful teachers. With a leadership style that one teacher says is driven by “empathy and mutual understanding,” Perry aims to couple high expectations with quality tiered instruction to ensure academic opportunity for all his students, 98 percent of whom live in poverty. Shortly following his appointment at Crestworth, Perry recognized fragmentation in staff and faculty and set out to regain focus and establish cohesion. Using SMART Goals, Perry guided teachers toward clear strategies to close the achievement gap with great results. Through systematic data analysis, the school saw academic gains in every content area and increased its letter grade of “D” to a “C” and then up to a “B.” This impressive turnaround was made possible by Perry’s implementation of PLCs, a space that he says allows for “collective inquiry” to establish goals, model lesson planning, guide assessment, and create opportunities for embedded professional development. Now integral to the school’s professional culture, PLCs no longer require Perry’s close guidance and are primarily self-managed by teachers who exhibit high levels of motivation, self-reflection, and initiative. Perry holds a B.S. in Economics & Finance and an M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from Southern University. He is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Southeastern University.

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