Kristen Jennette

Kirsten S. Jennette

Blades Elementary School
Seaford School District
Seaford, Delaware

According to Seaford School District’s assistant superintendent, Corey Miklus, principal Kirsten Jennette’s “work ethic, dedication to students, and her love for curriculum and instruction are a model for other school administrators.” These qualities have also been instrumental to Jennette’s turnaround leadership at Blades Elementary School (BES), a rural K-2 school where she has served as principal for the last five years. When Jennette arrived at BES, then a K-5 school, almost a quarter of all fourth and fifth grade students, many of them English language learners, were identified as having a disability. Working collaboratively with building leaders, Jennette reassessed and revised the school’s RTI process and transformed its special education model from pull-out to push-in, providing proactive supports to give every student a chance to succeed prior to making referrals. Jennette simultaneously developed the building’s PLC culture, drawing on her years of experience as a new teacher mentor to cultivate the in-house assessment and reflection skills necessary to strategically shift instruction. As a result of this and many other partnership-driven initiatives, BES has overcome Improvement status and continues to make academic progress. Jennette received the 2019 Superstars in Education Award from the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and has served on the Governor’s Subcommittee and the University of Virginia School Turnaround Leadership Team. She holds an Ed.D. from Wilmington University and M.Ed and B.S. degrees from Salisbury University.