R. O. Gibson is a thriving center of learning thanks to the leadership of Linda Archambault. When she became its principal five years ago, the school was considered dangerous, the stakeholders were disengaged, and the building itself needed attention. To provide a safe and welcoming environment, Archambault enlisted the help of teachers and community members to bring the building up to code. She then worked with teachers to increase collaboration and ensure accountability for student outcomes.
“Dr. Archambault has a kind demeanor and excels in transparent communication,” said Billie Rayford, retired associate superintendent of the Clark County School District. “She leads her staff, yet empowers them to reach beyond their individual pedagogy in higher levels of successful instructional strategies. She is sensitive, forward thinking, and diligent in her mission to provide all learners with the optimum environment in which they can thrive.”
From day one, Archambault’s focus has been on the students. After the school established an environment based on respect, discipline improved almost instantly. Archambault implemented a character education program and raised expectations for students, teachers, and even parents. Because over three-quarters of the students are Hispanic, many parents faced a language barrier that prevented them from attending school functions. To help them feel more welcome, she provides an interpreter at every meeting and leads job skills workshops for those seeking employment.
With the additional implementation of professional learning communities and a redesigned curriculum that’s better aligned to state standards and the needs of each student, the school has been completely transformed. For the first time ever, Gibson made adequate yearly progress in 2009. Thanks to the combined efforts of Archambault and her staff, student accomplishments are celebrated, discipline referrals have dropped, attendance has improved, and school pride has been restored.
“NASSP’s experience has taught us time and again that nothing is more challenging or essential to school improvement than changing the school’s culture,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “With high energy and focused effort, Linda Archambault has established at Gibson Middle School a model climate of what the Breaking Ranks school improvement framework requires--a personalized environment where every student is known and feels valued.”
“We applaud Linda Archambault for her leadership in engaging the teachers, parents, and all stakeholders in the transformation of their local school,” said Thomas G. Hogan Jr., senior vice president of MetLife Resources. “Her efforts empower students to fulfill their potential and create a brighter future for the community.”
“It is important to recognize outstanding school leadership,” added Dennis White, vice president of Corporate Contributions for MetLife. “The MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program acknowledges the crucial role of principals as leaders and individuals who go above and beyond to make their schools the best they can be for students, teachers, and communities.”