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As part of National Principals Month, CASE is pleased to highlight a few of our outstanding principal members. As studies show, principal leadership is second only to strong instruction when it comes to impacting student achievement, so please join us this month in recognizing the hard work and dedication of principal-leaders from across the state. To learn more about National Principals Month, click here. As you're celebrating this month, remember to #ThankAPrincipal!

 

#ThankAPrincipal - Kristin Stolte

 

 

Kristin Stolte is currently serving as the president of the Colorado Association of Elementary School Principals (CAESP), one of CASE's seven departments. She is also currently serving  the community of Linton Elementary School in the Poudre School District as their principal. Thank you, Kristin, for all that you do!  Join us in celebrating this incredible principal leader! #ThankAPrincipal

 

How long have you served in your current position, and how long have you worked in education?
This is my 25th year in education! I have been a teacher and in leadership roles in Iowa, Minnesota, and Colorado. This is my 9th year as a Principal and 8th year in my current building.

 

Where do the great ideas come from in your organization?

Great ideas are everywhere… students, parents, other administrators, learning gained by attending our state conference, and professional reading. But I feel the BEST ideas come from our staff. When teachers are encouraged to take risks, try new ideas based on the needs of their students, and are encouraged to collaborate with all teams, GREAT ideas surface.

 

What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
State funding is our biggest challenge. I recently read that Colorado is the nation’s 14th richest state and ranks 43rd in how much it spends per student. We need to solve the state funding issue. It is unacceptable that many districts can barely “maintain.” Students deserve a rigorous and rich education with extended opportunities and better mental health supports. Our staff (certified and classified) are not paid a competitive wage and we are constantly asking them to do more. One CO district lost 26% of their staff last year. Advocacy is one of the reasons why I take an active role in CASE. I believe we need to try to “fix” the things that are our greatest challenges. (Funding...lack of funded full day K…increased testing mandates…etc…etc…)

 

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Always focus on what is best for students. As cliché as that sounds, it can be easy to get wrapped up in other pressures (whether political, adult issues, out of our control issues). I truly believe when decisions are made based on what is best for students, you never really have “explain” anything. Asking yourself, “What is best for ALL our students? What would I want for my own child?” helps keep that focus.


Who has had a major impact on you as a leader, and why?
I really believe we learn from everyone and from every experience. The positive interactions and the not so positive. Many students, teachers, staff members, parents, colleagues, and other leaders have had great impact and has kept me learning every day. I am especially thankful that a former Superintendent encouraged me to pursue the principal path. Our families tend to make sacrifices to support us in leadership positions. My parents and my husband are my biggest cheerleaders, and my children easily share me with 480 other kids on a daily basis. This allows me to have this “job” that I absolutely adore.

 

Click here to download and share this image to celebrate Kristin and her accomplishments!

 

 

The Colorado Association of School Executives (www.co-case.org) is the preeminent professional association for public school administrators in Colorado. The organization’s mission is to empower Colorado education leaders through advocacy, professional learning and networking to deliver on the promise of public education.

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