Victoria L. ConnellyVictoria L. Connelly
Garfield Elementary School/Franklin Elementary School
Muscatine Community School District
Muscatine, Iowa

As the principal of two schools, Victoria Connelly describes the site she leads as “a two-building school that shares families.” Garfield Elementary and Franklin Elementary have enrollments of 173 Pre-K-1 children and 205 students in grades two through five, respectively. Each serves a largely poor, ethnically diverse, urban population. Yet Connelly stresses that these demographic factors “are not seen as obstacles” and “student achievement is high at both schools.” In 2008, Garfield-Franklin ranked seventh out of all elementary schools in its region on Iowa’s state reading achievement test. Since arriving two years ago, Connelly also has improved discipline in the two school buildings by spearheading an initiative supporting positive behaviors. The behavior program is coordinated to enhance character education. One year after these efforts began, the number of school suspensions dropped from 25 to 7. Improved discipline also has resulted in more time for classroom learning. Under Connelly’s leadership last year, Garfield-Franklin piloted an instructional decision-making process for kindergarten through fifth-grade students. The new process provides supplemental instruction and intensive interventions for struggling learners. A principal for six years, Connelly began her career in education as a language arts and reading teacher. She also has served as a middle school counselor. She holds a B.A. from St. Ambrose University in Iowa and an M.Ed. from the University of Northern Iowa.