Katharine Bonasera, the principal at Allenbrook Elementary School is a No-Nonsense Nurturer® that holds her school community to high expectations and believes that all students “CAN AND WILL”. In a world where we have amazing, top performing educators and principals, Katharine rates among the elite.
Why is she electrifying?
Katharine knows that a key lever in making her school a great place to learn is building life-altering relationships with the school community. She begins this process each morning at 7:15am when her students enter the building. They are greeted with a warm smile, a handshake, high-five or hug . Katharine then spends the remainder of her morning walking through classrooms, giving feedback and checking in with students.
What do students say about Ms. Bonasera?
Students unanimously reported that she is firm and fair. They were quick to add that they trust her and she is always willing to talk to them. Several students talked about how much they enjoyed her smile and presence in the building.
How is she turning around her school?
Katharine approaches the work of turning around her school as a No-Nonsense Nurturer with a growth mindset. She is a highly-skilled highly-committed administrator that is quick to ask for feedback. Her constant state of reflection and tireless passion for the community in which she serves equates to a gritty sense for success. She knows that it is extremely important to hire high-willed educators that are committed to providing access for students, so she works tirelessly to find No-Nonsense Nurturing educators that are willing to be coached in both classroom management and academics.
Katharine was asked three questions about her work in Allenbrook Elementary:
What are you the most proud of this year regarding your staff?
“This year I am most proud of the progress we’ve made related to staff culture. The instructional leadership team made strategic choices in staffing and onboarding that allowed us to establish a culture focused on continuous improvement. Our staff attendance and retention have increased significantly over last year. As a result, students are receiving a more consistent instructional experience. I think this is directly related to the coaching and development teachers receive on an ongoing basis. I’m proud that our multi-classroom leaders have been able to provide ongoing coaching support to teachers so that they can feel and be more impactful in the classroom. “
What is something you learned this year that impacted your leadership?
I feel like I learn something new every day! There have been some technical pieces that have been powerful for me and my school, such as ways to be more consistent in our responses to student behavior. More importantly, though, I’ve been really proud of how I have grown in aligning our work. We have a lot of different supports in place to develop teachers and leaders. Each of these supports represents different initiatives to support our turnaround work. I have grown in determining how best to align these resources to our goals. As a result, teachers and building leaders have a clear vision for our work and see how resources align. We are then able to maximize the impact of each resource to support student learning.
What is your greatest target area of growth and improvement?
I continue to work on not beating myself up for missteps that I have made in the past and remembering that I am not in this work alone. During times of stress, I often want to do everything myself. However, this only results in increasing my stress level and keeps me from making the most sound decisions. I’m working each day to trust the team around me. They are incredibly smart individuals, and it is together that we will reach our goal of fulfilling the promises we make to parents when they entrust us with their children.
I am honored to work with Katharine Bonasera. She is the true definition of AGENT OF CHANGE.
by Kara Backman, Managing Associate, CT3 Education
Kara brings a unique combination of passion and real-world experience to her work with educators. She has successfully turned around over 15 schools with CT3.