Lorynda J. Sampson
Northridge Elementary School
St. Vrain Valley School District
Lorynda Sampson has served Northridge Elementary School as its principal for the last nine years. Building on over 20 years of staff development experience, Sampson has invested her passion for lifelong learning into transforming professional culture and moving Northridge out of Priority Improvement status to Performance—Colorado’s highest school accreditation level. With the aim of increasing engagement and empowerment for Northridge’s high-poverty and linguistically diverse student population, Sampson set out to shift mindset, culture, and instructional practices to create a supportive environment for all learners. The result is a school that families see as a community resource. Sampson’s leadership is humble, driven by a commitment to build the trust necessary for collaboration. After leading collective assessments of improvement strategies, she encouraged her staff to take the steps necessary for growth by modeling risk-taking herself. For example, she forwarded video analysis of teaching and learning by being the first to model, opening the door for teachers to embrace change, increase self-reflection, and foster peer feedback, leading to more frequent and creative adaptations to instruction. Under her leadership, Northridge earned Colorado Succeeds STEM Excellence Award in 2018. Sampson holds an M.A. from the University of Phoenix and a B.A. from the University of Northern Colorado.