Dana L. Nally

Bedford Elementary School
Bedford Community School District
Bedford, Iowa

With Dana Nally at the helm for 16 years, Bedford Elementary School (BES) has earned academic distinction against the odds as a rural, high-poverty school. Nally credits this success to her ability to build a culture of collaborative inquiry, enabling holistic solutions to student wellbeing and academic growth. With the help of a specialist, for example, Nally launched a highly engaging STEM curriculum that emphasizes confidence, collaboration, and creative problem-solving skills through hands-on projects with real world application. To target SEL goals, Nally built the school’s “Leaders of the Pack” program following a two-year process of internal study, training, and development. This program embeds the Leader in Me habits across all aspects of school culture and allows students to practice leadership and take a front-seat role in their educational experience by setting self-defined goals and tracking their progress. Under Nally’s leadership, the U.S. Department of Education has twice recognized BES as a National Blue Ribbon School. In 2010, the school was recognized for successfully narrowing the achievement gap among students with IEPs and students receiving free and reduced-price meals, which includes approximately half the student population. Again in 2021, the school was honored for its overall academic excellence. Nally holds a B.S. in Elementary Education, an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling, and an S.Ed. in Superintendency from Northwest Missouri State University.