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Donna J. Marshall (WA '05)


At the time of the Award, Donna J. Marshall was:

Cleveland High School
Seattle, WA

Biographical Information

When Donna Marshall began her post as principal of Cleveland High School in January 2005, it was one of Seattle's most troubled schools. In a very short time, she has revitalized the school's staff and student body, building an atmosphere of trust and respect while expanding the leadership team to engage teachers and students alike. Among her strategies was a staffwide leadership retreat that she organized to invite teachers into the decision-making process. She also encouraged the expansion of the student council and student activities program. There's a precedent for the rapid and comprehensive transformation Ms. Marshall has been able to effect at Cleveland High School. Previously, as principal of Rainier Beach High School, which is also in the Seattle School District, Ms. Marshall's administrative leadership helped students improve their scores on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) in all three categories-reading, writing and math-by over 10 percent in the 2003-2004 school year. It was the only school in the district to show such significant gains. Ninety-one percent of Cleveland High School students took the WASL this year-more than any previous year. Part of her strategy to improve attendance was to share with students her own experience as a reluctant test-taker, a reluctance that she eventually learned to overcome. Any student willing to follow in the footsteps of this outstanding teacher is sure to find a bright future ahead.