Principal’s Corner: Cultivating supportive school culture

Published 9:12 pm Friday, January 10, 2020

Principal’s Corner by Nicky Severtson

Nicky Severtson


January often has us reflecting on our hopes and dreams and setting personal goals for the new year.

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This January has been especially exciting for me, as I step into a new leadership role for Albert Lea Area Schools as the principal of Sibley Elementary. I am an Albert Lea High School graduate and started my education career as a special education teacher at the elementary and middle school levels. I then taught second grade for many years before moving into the role of an intervention teacher for reading, math and behavior support. During this time I continued my education, receiving a Master of Education degree and a specialist degree in administration. For the last eight years I have served as an administrator at the secondary school level for Albert Lea Area Schools.

All of our schools in our district have been working collaboratively on becoming a high reliability school. Our teacher leaders and administration were fortunate to have Dr. Phil Warrick join us for one of our professional development days in Albert Lea this month to support us in our efforts. Dr. Warrick is an author and global consultant in the areas of school leadership and effective teaching and learning practices that promote high levels of learning for all students. HRS consist of five areas that create an environment in which all students can be successful: safe, collaborative and supportive culture; effective teaching in every classroom; guaranteed and viable curriculum; standards-referenced reporting; and competency-based education.

In the first half of the school year, all schools identified strengths and areas for growth in the first level of HRS: safe, collaborative, and supportive culture. Input from parents, students and staff was analyzed and now is being used to identify our focus, create action plans and drive our future steps as we continue to work in collaborative professional teams to increase achievement of all students. 

My hope, dream, goal for the new year is for Sibley Elementary to continue to grow and learn together in a safe, collaborative and supportive culture using effective teaching strategies where all students have high levels of learning and are engaged. I look forward to this leadership position on this journey!

Nicky Severtson is the principal at Sibley Elementary School.