THEW'S FORMER LEADER IN CHARGE OF PRINCIPALS
August 1, 2007
Arizona Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ) August 1, 2007
Author: Georgann Yara, Special for The Republic Estimated printed pages: 2
Then-Thew Elementary School principal Cindy Denton took the school in four years
from an underperforming to a performing-plus ranking.
It was a quick turnaround time for any campus, let alone a school with a number
of bilingual students and where 90 percent of its 600 students qualify for free
or reduced lunch.
Denton will draw upon those experiences in her new job as the Tempe Elementary
School District's director of school leadership, a supervisory position over
Acknowledging a significant role in Thew's improvement does not come easy to
Denton, who was administrator at the district office working with Title 9
schools before heading to Thew.
"We were thrilled. It was all about a coordinated effort," she said. "It's not
something you do by yourself. We received huge support."
When Denton moved to Thew, specific and consistent intervention programs were
implemented, and teachers analyzed methods that would allow them to maximize
every minute of the school day. More achievement data was shared with parents
and the length of parent teacher conferences were extended according to need.
Denton has mixed feelings about leaving Thew.
"There was that bittersweet sorrow of leaving a place where we still had work to
do. It was hard to walk away from there even though I knew I'd love it up here,"
Denton's strategy in her new job won't change much. She said she will continue
to evaluate data from a broad angle and not just focus on test scores, and what
is best for students remains the bottom line when it comes to making decisions.
Denton said schools that are doing well will be monitored to see if programs in
place there may be used on other campuses.
"Data is huge. Is this good for student achievement? We ask this all the time,"
Denton said. "If you stand true to that and your integrity is intact at the end
of the day, that's when you know."
Denton has been with Tempe Elementary since 1990, when she was a kindergarten
teacher at Bustoz Elementary. She was a reading specialist at Evans Elementary
before taking the administrative position at the district office.
A resident of Tempe, Denton is a native of Bloomington, Illinois, and has been
married to husband David for 10 years. Her son, Jacob, is a third-grader at
In a school district where changing demographics, a high number of English
Language Learners and a 68 percent free and reduced lunch rate can be considered
obstacles, Denton refuses to be fazed.
"I didn't look at things as obstacles or challenges. ...My glass is usually half
full and rarely half empty," she said.
CAPTION: Cindy Denton
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Tempe Republic
Copyright (c) The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the
permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.
Record Number: pho172749270