Dana K. Stiner

Pine Tree Elementary School
Kent School District
Kent, Washington

When Dana Stiner took on leadership at Pine Tree Elementary School (PTES) six years ago, the K-6, high-poverty school suffered from lagging test scores, an overwhelmed staff, disjointed teaching practices, and student behavior described as “out of control.” Since then, Stiner has made it her mission to transform the school into one vibrant learning community and create paths for colleagues to join her in the profession as learning leaders. Where there was once a lack of strategy alignment between instructors, PTES now benefits from a sustainable, reliable MTSS that has been successful in shoring up literacy foundations and closing achievement gaps. Pine Tree’s long-term rules of respect, responsibility, and safety are now actively implemented through the teaching of 18 discrete skills, each of which students can enact by following a few concrete, accessible steps. These efforts, combined with positive reinforcements and the routine, connection, and shared expectations established through morning meetings, have led to marked improvement in student behavior and wellbeing. Meanwhile, the school’s Equity Team provides resources and development to ensure that each of these supportive systems is implemented in a culturally competent manner for the school’s diverse population, which speaks over 35 home languages. Stiner holds an Ed.D. from Seattle University and two M.Ed. degrees from Northern Arizona State University.