David F. Hardesty

Velma Linford Elementary School
Albany County School District #1
Laramie, Wyoming

In his decade of leadership at Velma Linford Elementary School (VLES), David F. Hardesty has cultivated a genuine spirit of collaboration and a common belief in the ability of all students to achieve at high levels. This mindset has allowed the entire VLES community to embrace new strategies and frameworks, yielding high levels of growth, more inclusive practices, and a greater sense of belonging in students and staff. Hardesty introduced PLCs in his first year as principal and has been working side-by-side with staff to refine them ever since. Shifts in scheduling, comprehensive professional development, and a school-wide embrace of data-driven practices have steadily transformed a school that once failed to meet state standards into one that has received “Exceeds Expectations” ratings on its last two accountability reports. These gains are corroborated by increased proficiency on grade level, district, and state assessments and enduring connection and collaboration between classroom teachers, support staff, and the School Based Intervention Team. These efforts have had positive ripple effects on both the professional and academic culture at VLES. Today, the school is one where staff have a valued and recognized voice, students benefit from varied pedagogical approaches, and all community members’ achievements and strengths are uplifted and celebrated. Hardesty holds a Master’s in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from the University of Wyoming.