Phyllis Kindle, principal at Fort Gibson’s Early Learning Center, has high expectations of students, parents, grandparents and faculty when it comes to academic achievement.
She’s also quick to give credit to each of those groups for the students meeting high academic goals.
Kindle’s expectations have paid off with her students testing at the top of the state’s performance standards and with Kindle being named a district administrator of the year by a state group.
Kindle and 10 other district winners of the award will be recognized at a luncheon to be held June 10 during the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration’s summer conference.
A committee will narrow the field of 11 nominees to three and those principals’ schools will receive site visits next month. The state winner will be chosen from those three finalists and will be recognized in October as a National Distinguished Principal.
Kindle said students are not tested until third grade and the third-grade teachers do their jobs well, with the students scoring the maximum on the state testing scale — the Academic Performance Index.
However, she also credits the Early Learning Center for that success, as they start the students on the track to success.
“We expect kindergarten students to be reading by the end of kindergarten,” she said. “We have high expectations and they rise to those expectations.”
She also has high expectations for the ELC’s 32 teachers and 20 support personnel.
Kindle begins each school year by inviting parents and grandparents to the school, when she and the staff share what they expect from them in the students’ education, she said. For example, they ask parents to read with their children every night, and a lot of them do.
She finds it very exciting to watch students develop as they move from 4-year-olds to 8-year-olds in her building.
Of all her accomplishments in her years as
“I am most proud of our reading program,” Kindle said of her time at the ELC. “The classroom teachers, reading specialist and I developed the program over the past 10 years to meet the needs of each individual child and the outcome has been tremendous.”
Kindle began her teaching career in a fourth-grade classroom at Fort Gibson and remained there for nine years, before becoming a first-grade teacher at the ELC. She is in her eighth year as principal there.
She graduated from high school at Shidler and began college in Tonkawa. She moved several times with her husband Jerry and completed her degree in education at Northeastern State University.
Her husband is retired and Kindle is eligible for retirement, but has no plans of leaving education for a while.
They have two grown sons, who are both Fort Gibson graduates and both are mechanical engineers. Jay and his wife Lori live in Claremore and have two children. Jeff lives in Muskogee.
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