Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program
Campus Principal Ambassador Fellow
Dr. Chris Pearson is the former principal at West View Elementary, a high-poverty, high-minority P-6 Dual Language School in Burlington, WA. During his four-year tenure at West View, Pearson successfully led the school through a federal Turnaround School Improvement Grant. From 2010 to 2014, student achievement scores more than doubled in Math and nearly doubled in Reading. Additionally, West View has become a state model for its family engagement programs and its culturally responsive school environment. Previous to his experience at West View, Pearson also served as the principal of Allen K-8, a high-poverty school serving a large migrant Hispanic student population. Pearson has also become a leader of principals in his region, facilitating Principal PLC’s in districts throughout northwest Washington, and presenting at several state conferences.
Over the past 9 years, Pearson has developed a successful leadership style that creates a positive learning environment for all students and improves classroom instruction and student achievement. He believes strongly in the power of building positive, trusting relationships with all stakeholders in order to rally them around a collective, common vision. Pearson takes great pride in knowing all of his students and families by name, greeting each of them at the door each morning and personally celebrating their success. He also believes in the value of engaging families and community resources in support of student growth. The mission at West View is “Cada Nino” or “Each Child,” empowering all teachers to develop an “individualized education for each student.” It is this commitment to knowing each student and their family that led to the school’s significant increase in student achievement, along with the development of model family engagement programs. At West View, the doors open at 8:00 am and don’t close until 8:00 pm. Students have access to tutoring and homework help in the evening while their parents take ELL and GED classes. Pearson also believes in the value of collaboration as the central component of adult learning. His teachers gather weekly to engage in a “child study” process that identifies individual students’ strengths and needs for the purpose of planning intervention and enrichment strategies. This process also provides opportunities for teachers to share ideas and garner support from their colleagues. This belief in collaboration transfers to Pearson’s leadership of other principals in his region. Pearson is passionate about creating professional growth opportunities for principals through peer collaboration, and he has facilitated a variety of Principal PLC’s where school leaders create goals and reflect on both their progress and the impact of their leadership on student achievement.
In 2014 Pearson was recognized by his state principals’ association as the Washington State Elementary School Principal of the Year. He was also celebrated by the National Association of Elementary Principals as a National Distinguished Principal. His school was recognized in 2013 by the Washington Education Association as a High-Performing ‘Turnaround’ School. Pearson has presented on the topic of successful school leadership at several conferences, including the Washington Educator’s Conference and the Washington Principals’/Administrators’ Summer Conference. Additionally, Pearson was also a member of a panel presentation on successful family engagement practices at the 2010 NAESP National Conference.
Pearson recently received his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington’s Leadership for Learning Program. He holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching from American University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literacy from Pepperdine University.
Areas of Interest/Expertise
- Rural Schools
- English Language Learners
- Migrant Student Populations
- Dual Language Education
- Family Engagement
- Principal Leadership
- Principal and Teacher Evaluation
- Equity Issues
- Federal and Local Policy Implementation