Education Honorees: Most Likely to Push for Excellence — Michelle L. Dillard

Oct 23, 2020 | Education Awards, Today's Family Now

Michelle Dillard is assistant superintendent for middle schools at Jefferson County Public Schools.

They are changing the educational landscape through their innovative ideas and dedication to seeing every student achieve academic success. Read on to find out how one of our Excellence in Education Honorees is bringing joy into the classroom.

Assistant superintendent for middle schools at Jefferson County Public Schools
Category: Education Administrator

Michelle Dillard is empowering educators with the knowledge needed to help students achieve academic success in spite of any barriers they may face. “Failure is not an option. No excuses, just results,” she says. Michelle has been working in education for 24 years, which includes a background in special education. Currently, she is teaching middle school principals how to improve their leadership skills and is encouraging them to share what they’ve learned with other educators within the district. This fall, Michelle is teaching the Jefferson County Public Schools Six Systems and Pillars at the University of Louisville as part of their teacher residency program. She says collaboration and “learning by doing” are important aspects of her teaching method.

Defining moment: I was a principal at Seneca High School, and it was a low performing school in the 5th percentile in the state in 2011. I worked hard to teach my teachers, staff, scholars, and parents they are somebody. Within three years of being the principal we worked hard and went from the 9th to the 12th to the 42nd percentile in the state. I left Seneca to be the assistant superintendent for the district.

What students need now: They need someone to believe in them and encourage them to move forward with learning no matter what and not to be afraid to ask for the tools needed to learn. Parents must know their rights and what to ask for.

Dealing with virtual learning: I suggest that school districts put committees together to help tease out all the things needed for teachers for virtual learning. I would then suggest that teachers have time to plan virtually or in person following the CDC guidelines weeks before it is time for the virtual learning to start. Give teachers and schools some guiding principles and then let them make the experiences their own to fit their classroom.

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“I would like to see education be changed to allow for more innovation, deeper learning, and having more culturally responsive teaching in classrooms, with everyone respecting the different cultures,” Michelle Dillard says.


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