Principal Ying Ying Chen's leadership and collaborative approach have helped Prairie Crest Elementary School in Cedar Rapids grow from the lowest-performing school in the district to the district leader in reading and math scores. Through team building, data collection and analysis, and comprehensive goal setting, Mrs. Chen has transformed the school culture to maximize student learning. Families have become partners in education through her monthly home visits and initiatives such as Project SMART (Support and Model Appropriate Reading Tips), in which students receive backpacks full of books and language-rich learning activities to use with their families at home. Mrs. Chen has also collaborated with her staff to integrate technology into the curriculum, and improved discipline by establishing "Guidelines for Success." An effective instructional leader, she provides extensive mentoring for new teachers while providing frequent professional development opportunities for veterans.
1980 University of Akron, M.A.