May 11, 2018
Dear Isabella Bird Families,
It is with great pleasure that I announce the new school leader of Isabella Bird, Lisa Schuba. Lisa joins the Izzi B community from her principalship in Boulder Valley School District and years as principal in Durango, Colorado. That leadership, coupled with her 18 years of teaching experience, make her a great candidate to collaboratively lead our school community. The hiring committee and families who attended the Principal Finalist Community Forum have all expressed their excitement in her joining the Izzi B team, citing her knowledge of both leading for the heart/social emotional needs of children along with the academic focus to help our children achieve their greatest potential.
I am also excited to announce that Assistant Principal Laura Glaab will continue in her position and will support a smooth transition as Lisa joins the team. We are grateful for her leadership and stepping in while Brian has been out of the building, and look forward to her continued support of the school. Please take time to show your gratitude to her when you can. A big thank you as well to our amazing principal selection hiring committee, who gave a significant amount of time to the process.
Lisa will have a Meet and Greet both with parents and staff in the coming weeks to get to better know each of you, and will participate in our June Leadership Week with the Instructional Leadership Team so she can support planning for the upcoming school year. We will send the details of the Meet and Greet as soon as possible. Please see Lisa’s introduction letter below, and join me in welcoming her to the Izzi B community!
Monica Dilts Nurrenbern
Dear Isabella Bird Families and Friends,
I am absolutely elated and honored to be given this incredible opportunity to lead a school that was designed with such intention, vision, and heart. It is clear from my visits and interactions with the staff, students, and parents that Isabella Bird is on the forefront of innovation and school reform. Our school’s founding leader, Sonny Zinn, has already become my unofficial mentor as I’ve reached out to her throughout this selection process. Someone told me at the Community Forum that I had the “Sonny Juju.” I embrace this as a HUGE compliment.
It is hard to believe, but I will be entering my 29th year in elementary education this fall. I began my career teaching and learning at two progressive private schools on the East Coast. My strong sense of social justice and great sense of compassion led me quickly to public education where I have taught in every grade, preschool through fourth. My first principal position was in Durango, CO where I served for seven years and was one of the longest sitting principals. During this time, I was awarded “Rookie Principal of the Year” by the Colorado Association of Elementary School Principals. Currently, I am completing my third year as principal of an elementary school in Boulder Valley School District.
My diverse experience in elementary education has confirmed for me that each school culture is unique and complex — this is what makes educational leadership intriguing and most gratifying. Schools are exciting places. They are thoughtful, reflective, engaging, and engaged. They are where meaning is made through a spirit of shared inquiry, and where both adults and children are encouraged to take risks and grow. My motivation for shifting into leadership after 18 wonderful years of teaching is rooted in these ideals.
The transition stage of our journey will be focused on getting to know each other. I’m here to listen, observe, ask questions and be visible. My commitment to servant leadership and my passion for improving schools shine through in my energy and enthusiasm. You will find my non-negotiables are equity, safety, collaboration, growth, and student achievement. I leave you all with one of my favorite leadership quotes:
“Principals must live with paradox: They must have a sense of urgency about improving their schools, balanced by the patience to sustain them for the long haul. They must focus on the future, but remain grounded in today. They must see the big picture, while maintaining a close focus on details. They must be strong leaders who give away power to others” (Dufour, 1999).
I’ll try to be present at Isabella Bird as much as I can these final weeks of school, while also balancing my time with my current community during their principal selection process. Denver Public Schools should be providing you with my contact information soon.
Thank you for welcoming me into your community.
Lisa S. Schuba