Lori L. Stevens
Dr. George S. Emerson Elementary School
Monadnock Regional School District
Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire
When Lori L. Stevens took the helm at Dr. George S. Emerson Elementary School, she had already dedicated herself to the school for 10 years as a classroom teacher. Entering following a five-year period of constant principal turnover, she made it her goal to be an approachable, supportive instructional leader and to cultivate a positive school culture that acknowledges and leverages the unique strengths of every leader in the building. By making peer mentorship a key feature of Emerson’s professional development practice, she quickly took stock of her team’s assets and challenges and has consistently positioned herself to support and problem-solve as a partner in instruction. The resulting culture has allowed Emerson teachers to successfully cohere around common goals, including increasing standardized test scores in reading and math, in spite of challenges raised by the pandemic. Stevens also led a process to systematize behavioral trends while facilitating a cultural shift away from the principal as disciplinarian, instead providing direct support to teachers in the classroom so that they can address the vast majority of issues independently. The results are impressive: Over three years, disciplinary write-ups have gone from 300 to just 30 annually. Stevens holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Science and a master’s degree in Curriculum Design and Instruction from Keene State College, as well as a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Southern New Hampshire University.