Janalyn Taylor

Janalyn Taylor has spent the last 11 years of her 36-year career as principal of Nance Elementary School, a rural school serving a diverse population of pre-K through first grade students. With 83% of students participating in the free- and reduced-price meals program and 29% classified as English Language Learners, Taylor’s leadership is driven by a fierce commitment to equity and her ability to rally teachers and staff to ensure her vision is realized. While Taylor holds teachers to high expectations, she also respects their autonomy, and has shifted Nance’s professional learning culture away from individualism and toward collaborative, teacher-driven PLCs that offer multi-tiered development opportunities. This approach, combined with Taylor’s creative use of technology to foster communication and collaboration, has effectively distributed leadership to enable a variety of projects that make Nance the unique learning community it is. Notable among these is Nance’s Intergenerational Pre-K program, which partners with a senior care facility to engage students in structured activities with elders. Just the third of its kind in the state, the program has been recognized within Oklahoma and internationally. Principal Taylor has implemented Maker Space, Model Classroom, and Reading Garden programs by supporting $90,000 in successful grant applications throughout her tenure. Taylor was a classroom teacher for 25 years before becoming principal; she holds B.S. and M.Ed. degrees from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.