Joan Dameron Crisler

In 1998 Joan Dameron Crisler received the Patrick Francis Daly Memorial Award in recognition of her 20 years of outstanding leadership of Arthur Dixon Elementary School on the South Side of Chicago. While she retired from the principalship, she has not retired "from her first love-teaching, mentoring and coaching."

Joan is now a Managing Director with CLASS Leadership Development, the professional development arm of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. In that capacity, she is responsible for developing and facilitating the Principal Eligibility Institute, the Master Principal Symposium, and the Intensive School Support Program. Joan was also a consultant for the provocative Nomadic Pictures production, The Principal Story, which was broadcast on PBS in the Fall of 2009.

Reflections on the Comer Process

My involvement with the Comer School Development process was certainly instrumental in inspiring and guiding me to take my leadership as a school principal to a very high level. For example, the training that I received relative to the Developmental Pathways and brain-based learning helped me to develop a framework around which we built an innovative and successful school instructional program. The SDP process taught me how empowering and sharing leadership and decision making with teachers, students, and parents could only strengthen and enhance my role as principal. And finally, having as our mantra "all decisions in the best interest of children" was a constant reminder of our true mission and values as we remained focused on creating and maintaining a school culture and climate that was always nurturing, supportive, and child-centered.