Every morning, Principal Anitra Pinchback-Jones gathers students and staff at Rainier View Elementary School in Seattle, Washington, for an all-school meeting. She welcomes students, letting them know that their teachers are excited to see them and have prepared outstanding lessons for the day ahead. Pinchback-Jones reminds young people to work hard and try their best. The principal intentionally reinforces a culture of excellence and high standards. When new students arrive at the school, they spend several days visiting classrooms from kindergarten through fifth grade to illustrate the high expectations consistent among grade levels and teachers. Rainier View’s students deliver some of the highest achievement and growth scores in the state, and the Council of Great City Schools places Rainier View in the country’s top 1 percent for students of color.
Pinchback-Jones holds the same high expectations of teachers. She pores over assessment data and creates tight systems to ensure that students have access to rigorous content and ever-improving instructional practices. The principal creates a master schedule including daily literacy and math blocks. Teachers submit weekly lesson plans that align instruction with district and state standards. Pinchback-Jones encourages faculty to give new reforms a chance and, in turn, they often serve as a model for other schools to emulate. When Rainier View was inundated with observation requests for one such reform, the principal required visitors to provide both positive feedback and suggestions for improvement.
A strong leader in Seattle Public Schools, Pinchback-Jones serves on the Principal Professional Development Team, planning and delivering ongoing education to help all the district’s principals improve their practices. As a literacy lead principal, she showcases excellence in literacy instruction, rolls out new literacy curriculum, and has designed professional development with teachers to support innovative literacy practices. A Seattle native, Pinchback-Jones is committed to public education, serving students of diverse backgrounds, mentoring other principals, and ensuring that the culture of excellence she has driven at Rainier View is permanently embedded in the school ethos.
Pinchback-Jones earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2000 and a master's in teaching in 2001 from the University of Washington.