David M. Levesque
David Levesque

David M. Levesque says that his five years of principalship at Pleasant Street School (PSS) have transformed his leadership, challenging him to take more risks and lead with compassion and empathy. Levesque’s leadership has in turn transformed the experience of students at PSS, a high-poverty school where many students experience homelessness, parental incarceration, and state involvement in the family. Drawing on his background in school counseling, Levesque has worked at the building and district level to integrate trauma-informed approaches to instruction. Together with his implementation of an effective building-wide PBIS system, Responsive Classroom techniques, and a thoughtful schedule redesign, this initiative has led to a dramatic 50 percent decrease in behavioral referrals in just one year. By pairing this focus on students’ social and emotional wellbeing with academic rigor, the school has also seen impressive achievement gains. When Levesque first became principal, PSS was a School of Focus. By contrast, after guiding the implementation of a curriculum innovation plan, the school was honored as a New Hampshire School of Excellence for the 2016-2017 school year. In this same period, Levesque used Title I funds to provide low-income families access to early childhood education by launching the school’s first pre-K program. Levesque holds a B.S. in Physical Education, an M.Ed. in Guidance & Counseling, and an M.Ed. in Administration, all from Plymouth State College.

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