Dilhani Uswatte

Dilhani M. Uswatte

Rocky Ridge Elementary School
Hoover City Schools
Hoover, Alabama

As a leader of Rocky Ridge Elementary for the last decade, Dr. Dilhani Uswatte builds on 13 years’ classroom experience as a math and science teacher. In her six years as principal, Uswatte has been a champion for pre-K education and helped make the community’s dream of a STEAM school a reality. By using the school’s strength in the arts as the “natural, creative glue to meaningfully integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” Uswatte has leveraged the support of private funders to bring multidisciplinary learning to the center of the school’s learning culture. The school earned international STEM accreditation in 2019 through AdvancEd (now Cognia), a first-in-the-district achievement, with Rocky Ridge being just the eleventh school in the state to receive this distinction. Driven by her passion for mentorship, Uswatte won the distinction of becoming a National Milken Award Educator in 2009. Her impact in the field of mentoring has rippled out beyond the school and community levels to cultivate the leadership of promising educators. Uswatte has launched both statewide and national mentoring programs, the latter of which has reached nearly 100 educators, nurturing contributions in advanced leadership, research, and professional development. These efforts were recently recognized with the 2019 CLAS Alabama Education Leadership Award. Uswatte holds Ed.D, Ed.S., and master’s degrees in Education Leadership from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, as well as B.Sc. degrees in Education and Biology from the Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.