Learning Forward

Outstanding Instructional Leadership
Posted on 03/13/2018

A Poplar Bluff administrator has received statewide recognition for the positive influence she has had on her colleagues throughout her 23-year career in public education.

Candace Warren, who is serving her first year as Junior High principal, was one of two educators given the outstanding instructional leadership award during the Learning Forward Missouri conference held Friday through Sunday, March 2-4, at Lake Ozark. 

“Leader is not a title, it’s someone who can influence people to believe and act, and Candace always had a natural ability to get out in front and do that,” said Patty Robertson, R-I assistant superintendent of curriculum. “She asks the right questions, researches, finds answers, reduces anxiety, and (in turn) her people try new things and step outside of their comfort zone.” 

Having spent the entirety of her tenure in the same building, Warren’s teaching career started with eighth grade language arts. She became the department head in 2008. The following year she was named district teacher of the year. Prior to her present post, she served as instructional technology facilitator for four years, working one-on-one with faculty and students. 

“Mrs. Warren is especially conscientious of staying abreast of current best practices for herself and to bring back to her staff members,” wrote Senior High Instructional Coach Stephanie Kuper in Warren’s nomination letter. Kuper continued: “Mrs. Warren pioneered some of the district’s current professional development opportunities, including the summer learning institute for all district staff members, offered after school (professional development) opportunities and helped create a one-day district-wide ed camp/conference for personalizing staff PD.” 

Warren helped revamp the Professional Learning Community model at Junior High, delving deeper into data analysis and using collaborative time more intentionally, “instead of just meeting with an agenda,” she said. A data board is on display in the school lobby, documenting student achievement in core subject areas, as well as tracking discipline and attendance. 

Also new this school year at Junior High are several staff committees including process champions, leadership, Missouri Assessment Program, intervention, ICU and scheduling teams. Warren attributes the success she has enjoyed to having a supportive staff that is open to change. 

“I just believe in working hard and doing the best you can to make each day better than the day before,” Warren said. “Everything I do is to try to help improve the building culture for staff and students. 

“It’s why I wake up when the alarm goes off,” she concluded. 

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Cutline: Representing Learning Forward Missouri, Patty Robertson (right) presents Candace Warren with the outstanding instructional leadership award.

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