Robert D. Kauffman

Hillside Elementary School
Farmington Public Schools
Farmington Hills, Michigan

Throughout his 26-year career of principalship, Robert D. Kauffman has become known for his “passion and unrelenting commitment to every student.” In his six-year tenure as principal of Hillside Elementary School, Kauffmann has manifested this commitment through strong instructional leadership and an embrace of the school’s diverse student population, which includes speakers of over 45 languages and a large number of students moving in and out of the district each year. Through targeted family outreach, in-depth work in PLCs to build awareness of equitable practices, and programs like DreamKings and Pretty Brown Girls, which encourage students to be the change they want to see in their community, Hillside has seen significant academic gains among African American and ELL students under Kauffman’s leadership. These efforts have been recognized by the National PTA with the 2021 Jan Harp Domene award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Hillside was the first school in Michigan to use the National SAM Innovation Project, which helps track the distribution of leadership capacity. The program has allowed Kauffman to increase time spent on instruction from 38 percent to 60 percent while implementing the Collaborative Classroom model of observation. During this time, student achievement increased by 11 points in two years. Over the next few years, Kauffman will guide Hillside in becoming a Leader in Me lighthouse school. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Central Michigan University and a Master of Education from Western Michigan University.