WPOY Shares the 6 Ideas that Keep Her School Strong

Share this Article

  • Email

January 6, 2021

Janna Cochrane is the 2020 Wisconsin Elementary School Principal of the Year. She oversees North Greenville Elementary School in in Greenville. The Meemic Foundation is a proud sponsor of the WPOY program.

Principals are always learning and always leading. As an elementary principal, I embrace my role as Lead Learner, Team Member and Keeper of the Family at North Greenville Elementary School. I find lessons of leadership embedded in my favorite phrases that staff hear repeatedly and share. As we move in to 2021, enjoy six of my favorite messages while finding ways to connect to your own leadership!

Kids. First. Always. The staff of NGES took great care to develop our mantra to define our “why” as a school community.  When we know our “why,” we are able to work together toward our shared vision with purpose. Kids are the center of every decision we make, and our mantra Kids. First. Always. guides our staff and school community.

Assume Positive Intent. I first heard this phrase in a workshop and was struck by its power. In any moment of conflict or disagreement, I assume positive intent. We all have the same end goal - for our students to do well. I find teams better positioned to solve problems when they assume positive intent of others! 

#NGESStrong ~ Even from a Distance.  Find a catch phrase, title or hashtag that represents a desired feeling or response. Use it often, and people will remember and respond. As we opened school this fall during a global pandemic, we were #NGESStrong ~ Even from a distance! This included distancing for our in-person learners without excluding our virtual students in quarantine. Staff repeat #NGESStrong when things are challenging and rely on each other to support and to keep us strong, together.

Everything is better UP NORTH! Opening a brand-new school can be a daunting task, and during our most challenging moments, I would say, Everything is better UP NORTH!  I said it so much that we started to believe it and now proclaim it with pride! On a side note, I truly believe that everyone should proclaim their school is the best and take pride in where they work hard for kids each day. 

We are the stories that we tell. People are passionate about children. Stories get told throughout the community all the time about school, and there is power in putting out our own story out with positivity and pride. If a story is told about North Greenville, I want it to be one that I would proudly share. Staff also share our story with the world each time they talk about work, and I remind them that we want others to hear our story of celebration and success, and keep our challenges to problem-solving at school. 

The smartest person in the room is the room. A spirit of collaboration is alive at NGES.  The knowledge and expertise of staff continue to impress me, and we recognize that someone in our school community usually has information or skills that could help us solve nearly every problem. 

I have spent my career in elementary schools, where inspiration can be found every day.  If the walls of North Greenville could talk, they would echo these statements with joy and passion for learning.
Questions & Feedback