Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Emerging Leader Builds a High School: Ramon Gonzalez

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Emerging Leader Builds a High School: Ramon Gonzalez

Article excerpt

In 2003, Ramon Gonzalez founded and was principal of M.S. 223, a middle school in New York City's hardscrabble South Bronx acclaimed for producing students who routinely beat the odds. Ten years later, Gonzalez left to create and lead an innovative high school extension for his middle school. A PDK Emerging Leader for the 2012-13 class, Gonzalez has garnered many awards for his work with M.S. 223, including the Alfred P. Sloan Public Service Award, White House Champion of Change, and the National Urban Technology Educator of the Year Award.

Why did you decide to leave M.S. 223 to work with a high school?

Although there are many incredible high schools in the Bronx and in New York City, we decided that we had a strong vision of what we were expecting students to achieve beyond our school. Precious opportunities were being lost while students were trying to identify the culture and expectations at their new high school. Time is an asset that economically disadvantaged students simply cannot afford to lose. We decided to craft a high school as part of our mission to expand opportunities for students. Our school will become a grade 6-12 institution, allowing us to leverage our relationships with students and families and build on partnerships we've developed over 10 years.

Is the move to require principals to be instructional leaders the right thing to do?

Being an instructional leader serves as an opportunity to clearly communicate your vision for cohesive and aligned instruction. But it's also an important skill for principals to use their budgetary responsibilities to meet instructional goals and provide resources to develop and sustain staff.

What are the best personal dispositions of a principal?

It always starts with passion and commitment to a compelling vision. It is not enough to be a great communicator, but one must truly connect with all the stakeholders in the community. …

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