LaCorte’s enthusiasm powers her school
September 16, 2019
2019 Elementary Principal of the Year Barbara LaCorte.Award: Elementary Principal of the Year Name: Barbara LaCorte Title: Principal, Hope School District: Hope Elementary School District Region: 13 ACSA Highlights: Member since 2002; South Santa Barbara Charter – President, Vice President, Secretary, Vice President of Legislative Action, Treasurer (current); Region 13 President (2014-15); Region 13 VPLA (2010-13); State Elementary Education Council; State Member Services Committee (current); ACSA Mid-State Conference Planning Committee, Breakout Sessions Chair (current). Barbara LaCorte has been called “the good kind of crazy” by leaders in her district. As a passionate and creative elementary principal, LaCorte never stops striving to build, innovate, connect, develop and improve.  “Ms. LaCorte is the type of administrator who embodies the heart and soul of a true educator,” said Anne Hubbard, Superintendent of Hope ESD. “She never ‘turns off.’ Her mind is constantly whirring with ideas about how to improve something, what needs to happen, how to bring more resources, etc. I honestly don’t think she sleeps. She is exceptionally connected and dedicated to her students, parents and staff.” Her integrity and enthusiasm extend far beyond the school campus and continually inspire her staff to not only work hard, but enjoy their time together and with their students. LaCorte challenges the people around her to volunteer for their communities, continue their education, participate in ACSA and other professional groups, attend learning events and expand their knowledge. In her 17 years at Hope School, LaCorte has partnered with the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony to provide free lessons — and violins — to all three campuses in the district; implemented districtwide arts programs; created a model special education inclusion program as the central element of her campus classes, schedule and support systems; led the Hope ESD DELAC, Title III coordination and ELD program with an impression reclassification rate; and mentored countless new administrators. Recently, when the student body challenged LaCorte to sleep on the roof of her school, not only did she accept, half of her staff joined her for the night. LaCorte personifies the “kind of crazy” that leads to lasting change for every student and educator she impacts through her ideas, interests and innovations. What’s your favorite book on leadership? The book that has had the greatest impact on me as a leader is a book that was required reading in one of my first courses that I took for my Certificate of Advanced Study in Education Administration: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. What’s your favorite quote about leadership? “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead  What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? By Stephen Covey again: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” What are some of your favorite apps? Calm and Sky Guide. What’s your best strategy for work/life balance? Play as hard as I work. What are the top five life hacks you would recommend for a new administrator? Bring your cell phone camera to workshops to take pictures of PowerPoint slides or posters; keep your email inbox under 25 messages, use files and labels to store messages; use a pencil, you will make mistakes; instead of responding to emails from your staff, get up from your computer and respond to them face to face; make sure you eat lunch. What made you want to become a school administrator? I wanted to be the principal I always wanted when I was a teacher. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome to get where you are? Fear of public speaking. What are you most proud of accomplishing? That I raised a daughter who is an amazing mother and an accomplished professional. Who is someone who inspires you? My two grandsons, Cameron and Jameson. They keep me looking toward the future! What’s your pre-game ritual to get ready for a big meeting or presentation? My morning ritual: Watch Steve Colbert’s monologue that I TiVoed from the night before so I can laugh out loud and release happy hormones that will last for hours; Stand in front of a mirror in the Wonder Woman pose; and Think about three things that I am grateful for today.
What was the best ACSA event you’ve attended? Last year’s ACSA Mid-State Conference in San Luis Obispo. How has ACSA supported you in your career/current position? I am so grateful for all of my ACSA colleagues who are now some of my best friends and travel buddies. What bucket list item do you hope to accomplish this year? Going to Antarctica in January. The theme of the 2019 Leadership Summit is “Lead Well: Equity and Excellence.” What projects are you working on which have equity as their focus? By the time of the Summit, I will have trained Hope School District teachers about the Fair Act and strategies to ensure students learn through mirrors and windows, mirrors that reflect their own lives and windows that offer insights into the lives of others. 

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