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Summer Principals Academy NYC
Teachers College, Columbia University
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in New York City

Faculty > Welcome

Rhea Simmons

B.S. in Elementary Education, University of Pittsburgh; M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum (candidate), Penn State University. A veteran practitioner, Rhea brings two decades of experience as an educator to Teachers College. For the past four years, Rheas has been an instructional facilitator in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania School District, where she assists K-8 teachers in the implementation of the district’s literacy goals in classrooms, plans staff development activities and provides professional and instructional resources to teachers in phonemic awareness and phonics.

Rhea is now Principal at Jackson Elementary School, York City School District.

The self awareness training I received in SPA has been valuable to me in relating to students, staff, parents and central administration in more ways than I realized. One thing I have found is that is it so easy to get tied up in the management of your school- and while it is important, instructional leadership is what should be foremost on your agenda. Also know what is going on in your school, and you can't do that from the office (inspect what you expect). It is important to be the lead teacher and the lead learner in your school.

Trying to reform a school that is already established presents some different challenges than those in a newly formed school. I would love the opportunity to share these with members of this summer's SPA cohort and I think I may have some insights that would be helpful to those who may find themselves working in or returning to schools in New York or elsewhere that are based on more traditional models.