DeSoto ISD Celebrates Principals

National Principals Month 2022

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Let's Celebrate KJTMA Principal Dr. Michelle Neely...

Full Name: Dr. Michelle R. Neely

Campus: Katherine Johnson Technology Magnet Academy

How many years have you served as a DeSoto ISD principal? 1.5

What are you enjoying most as a leader of a DeSoto ISD campus?

I enjoy seeing students exhibit a joy for learning, and I love seeing teachers stretch themselves.

A principal wears many hats, what is the primary hat that you wear as you lead your campus community and why?

I believe my primary hat is one of stewardship. Stewards are responsible for carefully managing something entrusted to them. Great stewardship requires one to remain focused on the mission at all times. No matter what I am doing throughout the day, my work is rooted in the mission and happens through stewardship.

What does it mean to fly and how does this definition guide your daily practice?

Flying is strategically acting in faith according to a vision and mission.

Please share an impactful moment as a school administrator and how it fuels your daily actions.

My staff and I discussed the origin of Excellence.

I asked them if 1.)Excellence begins with the district, flows to the teachers, and then to the students and community or 2.)Excellence begins with the teacher then flows to the student, and then to district.

They concluded that they each have to pursue excellence individually first. This conversation was a turning point for us. We all decided to individually pursue excellence so our students would have the best education possible.

As a principal, how does leadership impact student experience and achievement and in what way do you maintain a pulse on your campus to ensure student success?

I maintain a pulse on my campus through Eagle Academy. I speak with students each day. My students are happy that I am their principal and know I love and appreciate them.

When the students see me their faces light up and they either want to tell me something, give me a hug or a high five.

When I talk to them about behavior and academic performance, they listen. I get to plant seeds in the minds and hearts of my students. They know that they have me in their corner to cheer and even correct them if needed.

I give my students roots to grow academically, socially, and emotionally, and wings to achieve academically.

Please share a word of advice for aspiring campus leaders.

In the words of Dr. Cornel West, "You can't lead the people if you don't love the people."

Love your people, and never treat them like they are replaceable.

Send a word of appreciation to KJTMA Principal Neely!