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If you ask Kelly Osterhout, she was in a six week interview to become principal of Quest Charter Academy. Her soon-to-be staff even made t-shirts to promote "Kelly for Principal!" She has always wanted to be an educator, following in the footsteps of many family members before her. All the way back to when she was a child, she practiced being a teacher with an attendance book and planning for the school. The community and relationships at her school are the reason she wakes up in the morning excited to go to work. Her staff and students know that Quest is a place they can walk in to, have a listening ear, feel safe, and get a hug (or COVID-friendly air hug!) Teamwork makes the dream work, and their leader Kelly is leading the best team she could ask for.
As I am reflecting on my first visit to Quest I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure this would be the right fit for me. I wasn’t sure this school aligned with my values and academic goals for students. The first year I was here I focused on building relationships. I didn’t realize the power in that at first but now five years later I see the positive effects this had on the staff and culture. The relationships that were built helped me to earn the trust of staff to work with me as a team to create a culture of fun and hard work.
Our goals start with our leadership team in which I facilitate and model our process each week. The team then breaks into grade-level groups to create goals based on our achievements to date. We revise our goals every 60 days. We focus on two goals that will make the biggest impact for students on our culture and academics. We track the data for these two weeks, each person on the team makes a commitment that they think will have the biggest impact for students in the next two weeks. We then have a meeting to discuss the successes, data, commitments, and whether or not we made the commitments. We then end the meeting with new commitments. If you didn’t make your commitment we try and determine what the barrier was and help each other remove the barrier. Quest is the best achieving school out of all of our surrounding schools as of now. Our goal is to first become the best balanced school in the company, then the county and then the state.