Emily Cross

According to one of her colleagues, shared leadership is the cornerstone of Emily Cross’ philosophy of administration and the key to her success as principal of Indian Trails Elementary (ITE). Following eight years as a teacher and instructional coach, Cross was brought on as principal before ITE opened and immediately set out to craft her vision of a learning community centered around student voice. In the 11 years since, she has realized this vision by investing in community relationships and cultivating shared accountability in teachers and staff, often working quietly behind the scenes to shape the learning environment and align the school’s culture with her vision. As principal, Cross ensures that she balances leadership and administrative responsibilities by “scheduling by design.” As a result, she devotes up to 70 percent of her weekly schedule to observing and supporting instruction, allowing her to hone the school’s unique student-centered curriculum. Cross implemented the “Leader in Me” program in 2012 to amplify student voice, and ITE was named a Lighthouse School for 2018. Actively invested in the future of public education, Cross designed ITE as a “teaching school,” hosting several student teachers each year and has taught as an adjunct instructor at the University of Central Missouri. She holds a B.S. from Central Missouri State University, a Master’s from Webster University, Administrative Licensure from Baker University, and an Ed.S. degree from the University of Central Missouri.