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Michelle DuBose Adams, Eichold-Mertz Magnet School of Math, Science & Technology Mobile, AL

Michelle DuBose AdamsDescribed as a high energy educator, “like a wonder woman in a pant suit,” Principal Adams has led the transformation of Eichold-Mertz into a high-performing elementary magnet school of choice over the past twelve years. As an instructional leader, Principal Adams is intentional, specific, and targeted to the ever-changing needs of students, faculty, and the community. “She runs a tight ship, but is respected,” said one parent.

Faculty and community members describe Principal Adams as kind, approachable, full of enthusiasm, and one who loves learning. She works to create and maintain relationships with everyone connected to the school. She is a positive role model who knows the names of 498 students and their parents. She has new families, including all kindergarten families, attend a mandatory parent meeting. During the meeting, Principal Adams personally challenges parents to develop an educationally supportive foundation for their children while encouraging parents to develop relationships with faculty and staff.

Principal Adams sets high expectations for students, faculty, and staff while creating a culture of performance excellence and an atmosphere that promotes learning as fun, adventurous, and exciting. Her leadership is about making others better and making sure that the impacts last in her absence. She sees herself as a facilitator to help accomplish daily teaching and learning; it is the faculty and staff who are directly responsible for the hard work that occurs with children each day!

The ability to read and interpret data has helped the school maintain a trajectory of growth throughout the years. The school assesses and monitors every student. During weekly data-level meetings, Principal Adams and the faculty analyze and conduct needs assessments at each grade level. She supports vertical team meetings in reading, mathematics, and science.

“When you know better, do you do better,” is the school’s mantra when it comes to professional development. Principal Adams constantly reads and studies articles and reflective pieces from other educators who have collaboratively created a plan of success. She promotes faculty-led professional development, particularly in prioritized subjects, such as mathematics and science. For example, when students were struggling with problem solving and reasoning mathematically, the math lab teacher and the third through fifth grade teachers participated in a Model Drawing online class. They wanted to create a cohesive approach for students to be able to make sense of, model, and successfully solve word problems.

Through Principal Adams development of community partnerships, the school built an outdoor learning center. The Outdoor Science Lab provides students the opportunities to: incubate, hatch, and raise chickens; plant and maintain gardens; develop an appreciation for keeping the environment clean; and gain an understanding of responsible pet ownership. Principal Adams gets her hands dirty in the outdoor science lab, sits with students and uses Math Talks to discuss possible solutions to math problems, digs into reading with student groups, and encourages students to support the community through charitable activities.

As a cheerleader, Principal Adams is known for her personalizing cheers and celebrations for staff and students. She never fails to recognize and celebrate the hard work the school’s students and faculty display. For example, there are not many principals who will go in a classroom and do a kick and a cheer to celebrate an individual student’s growth. At honor assemblies, Principal Adams cheers, chants, and claps for every student that is present. She is never one to shy away from looking silly to celebrate students, faculty, and the school.