Wendy Shirey, the principal of Pinecrest Academy Horizon, knows that data holds the key to improving student outcomes and fosters the K-5 public charter school’s data-driven culture. She holds weekly professional learning communities with each grade level, looking for proactive rather than reactive opportunities to adjust staffing and instructional methods. Last year, when fifth-grade student outcomes lagged, Shirey worked with teachers to dissect their data and target areas of need, shifting class schedules, teacher assignments, curriculum content and pacing; within six months, the school’s fifth grade showed the highest growth and improvement of all four Pinecrest campuses. Under Shirey’s watchful leadership, elementary growth in ELA was up 12% in 2017-18, with math up 4.5%; middle school growth (the school served K-8 until this year) gained even more, with ELA up 23% and math up 16%. Pinecrest Horizon quickly jumped from three to five stars under the Nevada School Performance Framework after Shirey’s arrival as assistant principal in 2015.
Shirey is committed to ensuring students are prepared for college and career by obtaining the 21st-century skills necessary to contribute to Nevada’s growing STEM industries. She has written grants for more than $3 million in funding for the Pinecrest system, which has supported the implementation of 1:1 technology and differentiated learning through a blended learning model. Shirey also procured funds for campus social workers and developed a student support system that incorporates their services.
A collaborative, inspirational leader with a background in special education, Shirey often interacts with primary, secondary and university-based educators around the state. She has participated in the Public Education Foundation’s Executive Leadership Academy, earned a leadership certificate from Georgetown University, and attended the Doral Academy Leadership Institute. Shirey has been a member of the Southern Nevada Writing Project since 2006 and has presented at the National Charter School Conference and the Charter School Association of Nevada Conference. A masterful relationship-builder, Shirey earned a 100% satisfaction rating on Pinecrest Horizon’s semiannual survey of staff and families. The school was voted Best Elementary School and Best Charter School in the Las Vegas Review Journal’s annual Best of Las Vegas poll.
Shirey earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Wyoming in 2000, a master’s in reading curriculum and instruction from Grand Canyon University in 2009, and an educational specialist degree in educational leadership from NOVA Southeastern University in 2014.
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