Jennifer Cox

In her four years as principal of rural, high-poverty Skyview Elementary in Morgantown, West Virginia, Jennifer Cox’s focus on nurturing emotional competency and leadership skills in both students and teachers has had dramatic results that reverberate positively through the entire school community. In 2012, Ms. Cox implemented the Responsive Classroom program, which teaches the foundational social and emotional skills that allow students to feel secure enough to thrive academically. Since introducing this model, the school has seen a ten percent decrease in the number of students referred to the office for inappropriate behavior. Cox, along with WVU’s education department, implemented a yearly program to identify 20 students with leadership potential who might not be given opportunities to develop that potential in other parts of their lives. After a two-day training session, these students are paired with mentors and work to envision and create projects that contribute positively to the school. Students in this program have created a recycling program, painted school murals, and created a mentoring project with students from a nearby middle school. The Peer Court program trains students in healthy conflict management, allowing students to collaborate with one another to solve interpersonal problems and prepare them for their futures in a global, diverse society. Cox holds a B.A. in Elementary Education, an M.S. in Special Education, and a Certificate in Educational Leadership from West Virginia University.