Stephanie A. Filter

Madison Elementary School
School District of Janesville
Janesville, Wisconsin

Stephanie A. Filter has served as principal of Madison Elementary School for eight years, but her relationship with the school stretches back to her own childhood when she was a student there. This trajectory, along with her training and experience as a school social worker, has uniquely equipped her to confront the challenges of running a school with high rates of poverty and trauma. Observing a large number of disciplinary referrals early in her tenure, Filter knew that Madison could do more to ensure all students were ready to learn and she quickly rallied stakeholders around a focus on social and emotional learning at the school. Through in-depth professional development in the Zones of Regulation, SMART, and trauma-informed practices, students have shown a greater capacity for emotional awareness and regulation, leading to a decrease in disciplinary referrals and the formation of a more positive school culture. Filter has also dedicated significant investment to improving the school’s professional culture by establishing PLCs where collaboration and collective efficacy are the norm. These efforts have led to strong retention and have had a marked impact on student achievement; in 2019-2020, Madison was identified as a Title I school of recognition, and the school continues to sustain above average year-to-year growth in STAR scores. Filter holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh, a Master of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and an Advanced Certificate in School Administration from National Louis University.