Kristyn Andrews is ACSA’s Elementary Co-Administrator of the Year.
Andrews brings ‘no excuses’ mindset to schools
September 20, 2021
Name: Kristyn Andrews Award: Elementary Co-Administrator of the Year Title: Assistant Principal, Cambridge and Foxboro Elementary School, Travis Unified School District ACSA highlights: Member since 2016; ACSA Region 4, Co-Administrator Council representative
Kristyn Andrews was already an assistant principal at Foxboro Elementary School in Travis Unified School District before she took on the same role at Cambridge Elementary School in 2020. That year, she was split between both schools. Andrews accepted the challenge and learned the culture of her new school. She also brought her “No Excuses University” growth mindset to Cambridge, which is a belief that all students can pursue post-secondary education as long as staff ensures they are prepared.
Now principal of Foxboro Elementary, Andrews uses her experience in special education teaching and as a teacher leader to hold teachers accountable and encourage them to reflect on their practice.
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Vincent Ruiz said Andrews is both collaborative and intuitive.
“(Kristyn) brings out the best in others, whether in a training, meeting or brainstorming,” Ruiz said. “She is positive and builds relationships … (she) is a doer and a creative thinker.”
What is your favorite book or quote on leadership? Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead” and Elia Moreno’s “Permission to Rest” are two of the most impactful books that I have read as an educator and leader.
In “Dare to Lead,” Brown talks about the “why” behind braver leadership and the need for braver leaders if we are to create more courageous cultures in our schools. She encourages leaders to “listen with the same passion with which they want to be heard” so that we can “show up with an open heart and mind so we can serve the work and each other.”
In “Permission to Rest,” Moreno speaks of the uncommon courage it takes to exist and lead. In her book, she shares: “Purpose is that thing that makes you speak and take action even when you are uncomfortable. It is your why and it allows you to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Both books speak to my heart as a leader and have taught me about the humanity of our work and the value of being vulnerable and uncomfortable.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given? Kevin Bracy, Coach Greatness from the R.E.A.C.H. One Alliance, has challenged me to “Each one, reach one!” This means that each day, I will reach out to at least one student or staff member to intentionally practice inclusion, kindness, acceptance and leadership on my campus. I have since challenged each of my staff and students to do the same.
What is your best strategy for work/life balance? One of our primary roles as a site administrator is to fill the cups of others. But, you cannot fill the cups of others when your cup is empty. My strategy for creating a work-life balance includes making time (even if that sometimes means scheduling the time) for doing things that fill my cup! For me, those things include daily meditation or journaling, exercise, reading, doing my nails and eating dinner with my family each night.
What are some life hacks that you would recommend for a new administrator? Take control of your time! Plan your food! Prioritize and make time for what fills your cup and makes you happy! Always have an extra pair of shoes!
What would people be surprised to learn about you? Prior to going into education, I worked in professional baseball. I spent many of my days driving our mascot around in an ice cream truck to local schools promoting our reading incentive program. As a result, I can recite Ernest Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat” on command. I also acquired many unique skills such as rolling hot dogs, pouring drinks, selling tickets and dealing with unhappy customers. All of these skills have been essential to my work in education and especially administration!
What made you want to become a school administrator? I went into school administration because I wanted to make a greater impact outside of my classroom.
How has ACSA supported you in your career/current position? ACSA has been a tremendous support throughout my administrative career. I participated in the ACSA Clear Credentialing Program. Through that program I met my coach and now lifelong mentor and friend, Katie Kaufman. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to participate in networking and professional development opportunities at the local, region and state level. These opportunities have provided me the innovative training and support needed to do what is best for all students.
What has the impact of the COVID-19 worldwide health crisis taught you? The COVID-19 worldwide health crisis has taught me that teachers are truly superheroes! Our teachers have navigated all of the educational systems affected by school closures with innovation and ease. They have adapted, improvised and gone above and beyond to do what it takes to keep their students learning. These last 18 months have reminded us that teachers are more than just facilitators of knowledge. They are a critical lifeline for their students, now and during whatever comes next. Reflecting back on all that I have learned during this experience, what stands out the most is how motivated I have been by the students themselves. I have drawn my greatest inspiration to be flexible, innovative and to persevere from the smiling faces that have looked back at me on a screen for much of the last two school years.
Kristyn Andrews is ACSA’s Elementary Co-Administrator of the Year.
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