Hall has been at the helm of Denali Elementary for two years. But she’s been with the school district for 18 years, starting as a first grade teacher before moving to fourth grade.
Though she’s only been in command for a short time, it’s a role her staff says she slipped into seamlessly.
Janet Speed, a fourth grade teacher, said that the position should have been a tough spot to fill — the prior principal had held the part for more than 20 years — but Hall made the move with grace.
“She recognized that there are a lot of people in the building with expertise and she didn’t try to change everything, but instead sought information from the staff about what we think works well, so we don’t change that, and what we can improve,” Speed said. “Her approach is all about getting feedback and respecting her staff.”
Though Hall holds the chief position at her school, she never stops moving, and never stops learning.
“As soon as we stop learning, no matter what job we’re in, we become stagnant,” Hall said. “We do a lot of in-services here and, at them, I tend to sit with my staff and learn with them, because I think that’s important. I can mentor teachers and provide ideas, but I think I need to also be down in the trenches with them.”
As for her approach with students, Hall strives to make meaningful connections, whether that’s sharing a pancake breakfast with students with strong attendance records, tutoring kids who need an extra boost after school, attending her students sporting events or talking to them about their interests and hobbies.
Hall said some of her proudest moments as an educator stem from the connections she’s made with her various students.
“Recently I had a group of students seek me out just to have lunch together, just because they wanted to,” Hall said. “We talked about their lives and got caught up. That’s important and it reiterates why I do what I do. I can still make differences in those lives.”