A Conversation with Leah Starr | Principal at Trailwoods Elementary
Principal Leah Starr has been proudly passionate about student learning since she began her teaching career in 2002. Her love for student growth and development has grown from her 16 years of service in education for Kansas City Public Schools. She has held several roles in the district including Teacher, Early Reading First Coach, Instructional Coach, Vice Principal, and Principal. She is married with three wonderful children. Mrs. Starr believes given opportunity and guidance, all students can use their leadership skills and talents do great things.
Q: Why did you sign up to be a PrincipalsConnect School?
I became interested in the PrincipalsConnect because of their genuine desire to help our kids – students of KC. The organization brings professionals from a variety of fields to schools to support and help with things we need. At the beginning of this school year we did not have a single business partner and were lacking in community involvement, regardless of the efforts we had made. I saw PrinicpalsConnect not only as a way to gain valuable partners but also make connections with successful professionals who can serve as thought partners and help develop me as a leader.
Q: Provide a little history about yourself, professionally and personally.
I have been proudly passionate about student in Kansas City since I began teaching in Kansas City Public Schools in 2002. My love for student growth and development has grown over the 22 years I have worked in education. Before coming to Kansas City Public Schools I worked as Early Childhood Teacher and Director. I earned my undergrad degree in Early Childhood Education from Park University, a Masters in Multidisciplinary Education from Webster University, and my Ed Specialist degree from the University of Missouri. I came to Trailwoods in 2010 as an Instructional Coach. I then became a vice principal and in 2017 became Principal of Trailwoods. I believe in giving opportunities and guidance to students that allow them to use their leadership skills and talents do great things for our community and the world.
I have been happily married to my husband, David, for the past 9 years. We have three wonderful children. I love watching them play and learn from each other. My son is 8 and in the 2nd grade, and two daughters are 4 and 1 year old. They are full of life and are always looking for ways to share their passions for singing, dancing, and learning new things.
Q: Tell me a little more about Trailwoods.
Trailwoods is a elementary school that serves 315 students in grades kindergarten- 6th grade. We are a Lighthouse School through the Leader In Me school-wide transformation process. This process embodies the 7 habits of Stephen Covey and provides opportunities for students and staff to develop their leadership skills. These skills are learned and practiced in hopes that students take them to their families and community. We develop leaders who take responsibility for their learning. At Trailwoods, our mission is to learn by taking initiative, lead with integrity, and succeed through collaboration.
Q: On what projects will you be working with a PricipalsConnect adviser?
I have been working with Carol to support our efforts in bridging the communication gap we have with our families who speak a language other than English as their home language. We were recently given a device that will help with translation in over 75 languages. The first time I used it with a parent their eyes lit up and we began to have a deeper conversation on how we as a school can help her daughter. This will surely help in strengthening the lines of communication, while respecting every parent and family member’s home language.
I am also working with PrincipalsConnect to organize focus groups with my staff. The purpose is to gather their thoughts on important topics and initiatives we have. I am big on giving students and staff members chances for their voices to be heard. This will give staff a time to share their thoughts on key areas that greatly impact our school culture and student learning.