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RPS 205 assistant principal heads to Harvard

Renee Schott is assistant principal at Jefferson High School.

Renee Schott is assistant principal at Jefferson High School.

Sometimes leadership is putting people in a position to do their jobs well. That’s especially true when it comes to leading complex organizations like schools.

Renee Schott, an assistant principal at Jefferson High School, is heading to a program at Harvard to learn more about leading in her many diverse roles at Jefferson: She’s the Assistant Principal of Curriculum, the principal of the school’s Human & Public Services Academy and the master scheduler.

The Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford selected Schott last February as the 2016 Investing in Excellence Assistant Principal. The recognition entitled her to attend the Aspiring School Leaders Program of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which will be held Nov. 5-8. Golden Apple covers tuition for the program, round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations. The foundation partners with area school districts like the Rockford Public Schools and First Midwest Group to provide one assistant principal this professional development experience every year.

Schott sees her primary role at Jefferson as helping teachers, counselors and clerical workers make partnerships both inside and outside the school. “To have the autonomy, authority and comfort to reach out to students they see who need a little more support or to reach out to their parents, just to touch base and to make those connections with our families,” Schott said.

Schott enjoys the variety of her work as an assistant principal, but the most fulfilling moments come when students share their successes. “Leaving the classroom, I don’t get those conversations that often and that’s something I really miss,” she said. Schott taught English at Jefferson for six years before she became a building leader. This school year is Schott’s fourth as assistant principal.

Her goal, which she hopes her study at Harvard can help with, is “to have multiple people who can do every piece of the puzzle. If I have to be out for some reason, it’s not like everything has to come to a standstill.”

And, if the day comes that she leaves her job at Jefferson, “I want this building to be able to run just fine the day after I’m gone,” Schott said.

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