• Dear Dalton Families,

    John Maxwell once said, “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.” It is in this spirit I begin my third year as principal of Dalton Elementary School. As a resident of Dalton Gardens and parent of one current and one former Dalton Dragon, I have a vested, long-term interest in the success of the school; I am thrilled to be a part of the strong Dalton team!

    Prior to becoming an administrator, I spent twelve-and-a-half years in the classroom, eleven of which were at Canfield Middle School teaching eighth grade language arts. I began my teaching career in Buckeye, Arizona, teaching seventh grade language arts. For four years before taking the helm at Dalton in 2018-19, I served as a vice principal at Ramsey Magnet School of Science (2014-15) and Canfield Middle School (2015-18). At both schools, I had the opportunity to grow under effective principals and develop my administrative skills. Three core values help me balance my instructional and organizational leadership: the fostering of relationships, a focus on teaching and learning, and a commitment to continual improvement.

    Just as I did in the classroom as a teacher, I strive to lead Dalton with high expectations, warm rapport, consistent visibility, and regular communication. I hope to know all of our Dalton families. I also hope you partner with the Dalton staff and me to create fertile ground for your child to reach his/her fullest potential: a kind, hard-working, and strategic reader, thinker, and learner who has a growth mindset and shows some grit during challenging lessons. We cannot do it without you! As a staff, we will work hard to create a safe, positive learning environment. As a school leader, I will be visible as often as I can in classrooms, hallways, lunchroom, playground, and pick up lines to get to know our students and families, to ensure safety, and to assess learning and growth. I will also be a learner alongside our staff and students. I expect all of us—myself included—to continue to grow and develop. To that end for the 2020-21 school year, our staff will focus on deeper learning and authentic implementation of the thinking strategies (monitor for meaning; using and creating schema; drawing inferences; asking questions; determining importance; synthesizing information; and evoking sensory images). The strategies help all of us think critically across contexts. We will also continue to pursue ideas in What School Could Be (Dintersmith) and examine ways we can make our lessons more innovative, putting students at the center of learning.

    Dalton is a special school. I hope you feel the sense of family and the positive vibe palpable in our halls when you visit. Enjoy the student work that adorns our hallways. Enjoy the happy buzz of learning. Our hallways are frequently filled with our amazing families, Watch Dog Dads included, who take time to help out in the classroom and during special school or grade-level events. Because of the strong partnership, there is no limit for our achievement possibilities. Again, we could not do it without you!

    I look forward to working with you during the 2020-21 school year. Together, let’s make it one of remarkable learning for our students. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, concerns, kudos, or ideas.

    With gratitude,

    Jody Hiltenbrand

    Principal

    jhiltenbrand@cdaschools.org