Anne Shull

Position: Principal

School: Chenowith Elementary School

School District: North Wasco County School District 21

City, State: The Dalles, Oregon

About the Nominee: “At the school level-the moral imperative of the principal involves leading deep cultural change that mobilizes the passion and commitment of teachers, parents, and others to improve the learning of all students, including closing the achievement gap. (Fullen)”

What is it that enables a principal to lead deep cultural changes within a school, staff, students and district? What skills do they need to have that will pave the way for forming successful relationships with stakeholders and will help them navigate between the roles of mentor, evaluator, politician and advocate? How can a principal improve learning and close the achievement gap? These are all things that need to be considered when considering how a principal can and will support effective instruction. It is often stated that schools that work for children have visionary leaders. In order to support any existing effective practice, the leader has to have a vision as to where they want to go and what they want the school to look like. Sometimes they will carry out the vision in a democratic manner. Other times, it will require authority and not so popular choices, but the principal must prove to staff, students and parents that they are competent, trustworthy and willing to do what it takes to make the school the best place for kids. Anne Shull is this type of leader.

She has the ability and a track record of being able to work with staff, students and various stakeholder groups to get their input on attainable goals and program direction and implementation. She is also skilled in revising these goals to fit within the overall vision of the school. These tasks require her to communicate effectively, openly and honestly. She is a leader who can follow through with what she says, and she has a solid understanding of what students and staff need at Chenowith Elementary School and what current research and best practices look like.

Principals of high achieving schools not only share their vision and expectations for high standards and students success, but they also incorporate those standards into their hall signs, parent communication and mission statements. This places some action behind the vision and words. Ms. Shull’s leadership style is based on the foundation of shared vision. She has said that you can try and wrestle everyone to think the way that you do, or you can start with a shared idea and allow the vision to grow from a mutual point. Ms. Shull has exemplified this at her school!

As principal, it is her obligation to ensure that best practices are not being sacrificed in order to avoid a hard fought battle of compromise, but to instead have a culture of buy-in rather than a culture of contempt. This is the loose-tight leadership style. She understands that sometimes, she must stand firm in something and can allow trial during other times. Having the wisdom of when to be loose and when to be tight is the sign of a mature leader.

The principal’s primary job is to ensure that their building is doing what is best for students. In order to do this they need to be able to make decisions regarding staff, curriculum and schedules. All of these factors affect the quality of instruction. In order to have real impact in regards to curriculum, achievement, culture, etc. and close the achievement gap, it takes a skilled professional who is a life-long, born leader with a love of education and a desire to make sure that students are getting what is best in regards to their knowledge acquisition and social educational experience. Ms. Shull is this life-changing leader. She cares deeply for those she works with, and she advocates for what is right and what is in the best interest for students. Ms. Shull has created a culture that feeds and motivates her staff, builds capacity in her families and cultivates hope to accomplish their dreams in children.

Posted in LifeChanger of the Year Nominees 2016-2017 and tagged .


  1. I have worked under four different principals, and Anne is by far the best so far!! She involves staff in decisions, has a vision to ensure that Chenowith educates ALL of its students, and believes that every single student, no matter his/her background, has the ability to achieve and be successful. She is very deserving of this award.

  2. It is wonderful that Anne is being recognized for her hard work and dedication to CES students and staff. She strives to help every student to be their best and accomplish their goals. Anne is a very supportive principal who continually provides great leadership to her staff. Congrats Anne!

  3. Anne has made Chenowith Elementary school–HER priority in so many ways. My association with Anne’s leadership comes from organizing a small group of adults to volunteer in kindergarten classes at the school. Every single one of us has found the school to be a place where children want to be–and want to be successful. Anne truly believes that in order to bring this school forward, students must regularly ‘come to school’–which one would assume is a ‘given’. Single parent homes, children living with large, extended families, children whose parents have not graduated from high school–are not unusual at this school. Anne lets parents know how very important it is to get their children to school. I’ve smiled often upon hearing about Anne’s drive to school in the mornings. A single mom of several elementary students was having difficulty consistently getting her children up and out the door on time for the start of school. Anne of course arrives at school early–and on her way–drives by this home–and honks her car horn–to remind the mom to get her kids ready for the day.
    Our community, and the students and staff at Chenowith Elementary are so fortunate to have Anne as principal. She is highly deserving of this award!

  4. Anne is very worthy of this award. Since she was a little girl she has been an advocate for the needs of others. As a teacher she did what was needed to provide a safe and supportive place for her students to grow academically and emotionally. Now, as a principal she continues to care for not only the needs of her students and their families, but her staff as well. Anne cares about the whole person. If you are fortunate to be part of the community of Chenowith Elementary School you will experience a leader who will not only know your name, but who will want to know you the person, as she guides and supports you.

  5. Mrs. Shull has changed the environment of the school 180 degrees in the time that she has been there. We were a school that was struggling not only in the academic areas of math and reading, but in the behavioral issues and in our outreach to the surrounding community. As a parent and a staff worker who lived in the local vicinity of the school she avoided using negative stereotypes that had emerged about our school and community and looked at the positive attributes that could be found in our parents and students and build on those qualities. Working in the library, I have seen an increase and a higher level of the books students are checking out to read. I also input data for referrals into the computer and see a thoughtful, fair discourse with students and an positive effort to improve their behavior and the value their lives can have for the future of their community.

  6. I have had the opportunity and pleasure to have worked with Anne Shull’s leadership from the beginning. We were a staff struggling to come together and hungry for leadership. Anne came in and did a fantastic job of building a great team approach at CES. She leads but with all of our input, ideas, and thoughts. She has been our greatest cheerleader and supporter! She knows how to motivate, but does this in a way that builds us up and doesn’t tear us down! She loves the students and is willing to stand up and protect or lay down the law! Our behavior issues have improved over the years she has been leading. The students love her and know she loves them! She has worked hard to but an emphasis on behavior and academics, with our incredible classified staff leading the way at making and designing lessons for our expectations! Our academics continue to get stronger and stronger as we work on our weak areas. She keeps us on our toes by doing check ins weekly, as well as giving us almost immediate feedback! She comes to school each day willing to give her all for our students, parents, and staff! We are lucky to have her leading the way!

  7. Our Principal, Anne Shull, was nominated for an amazing award! She is a Life Changer of the Year nominee. I am excited for her, but also for our school because through her vision, dedication, devotion, and realization that all kids can and will learn, our school has made some amazing growth! I am proud to be a Chenowith teacher, and proud that we have a leader that helps to make a difference in the lives of our community members and most of all our students. Congrats to Anne for being nominated, and congrats to Chenowith for helping kids learn and grow in such an amazing place.

  8. Anne is a very supportive principal and looks out for her staff and students. We are a better school because if her.

  9. I have known Anne for many years and she helped me get through a very tough time in my life…being a teen parent. She always showed strength, compassion, humor, and nothing less then complete support for me. She will go above and beyond to help others. She is an amazing person.

  10. I believe, whole heartedly, that Anne Shull is deserving of this award. Anne has demonstrated commitment and insight
    as the principal of Chenowith Elementary School. She is fearless, consistent, approachable and always thinking of better ways to reach more students, help more staff reach their potential, and bridge a relationship with the community. She is not afraid to wear any hats and fill in anywhere she is needed at school. She has taken on a school that was challenged and helped facilitate significant academic growth.
    Bravo, Anne you rock!

  11. I have only had the opportunity to work under Anne for one year but I look forward to many more! I have worked in other states and Anne is my third principle. I have received multiple compliments from parents and volunteers about the positive, nurturing, and fun culture of our school and I have told them that it all stems from our principle. I say this because as a teacher, I feel cared for and I know she will back me up on my decisions in my classroom. She allows me to teach my students and gives feedback that is meaningful. She also knows my students as well as I do, if not more. She is involved and caring. I am very proud to be a teacher at Chenowith.

  12. So proud of Anne and the positive changes she has brought to our school. She has been supportive of the arts for both our teachers and students. She has also brought teachers in to the decision-making process, which guide curriculum and procedures that make Chenowith elementary school a better place. She has had an overall positive effect on our school community leading us through very difficult and constantly changing times.

  13. Anne is so deserving of this recognition! She always keeps the best interests of her students in the forefront and serves from her heart. She has the biggest heart – especially for students who are less fortunate and struggle to find a connection in school. She gives her heart and soul to leading her school. Anne truly lives the definition of “servant leader.” She truly makes a difference for all the students, staff and parents of Chenowith Elementary School.

  14. Anne is an inspiration to every adult and child at Chenowith Elementary. Anyone that is around her is lucky to learn and be guided by her talent as a leader and mentor. She is very deserving of this award!

  15. As the parent of a fifth grade teacher and grandmother of a second grade student under Mrs. Shull’s leadership, I can attest to the fact that she is a very admiral principal. Since Mrs. Shull became principal of Chenowith Elementary School I have seen my daughter able to become a better teacher due to the support and guidance Mrs. Shull has given to her staff. Having the opportunity to visit the school on various occasions I have observed many upbeat activities presented to any by the students. The cheerfulness of both the students and staff are amazing. I see so many smiles from almost everyone in the building which says a lot for a school of so many disadvantages students. The last day of school when I picked up my granddaughter, the whole staff was outside the building waving, saying goodbye, with tears in many of the faculty’s eyes as they sang, “You Are My Sunshine” to the departing students. It brought tears to my eyes also. I truly admire Mrs. Shull for her strong, cheerful leadership of her staff and students.

  16. Anne, where do I begin with Anne!? There’s so much good to say about you and so great that you have done for my self when I was in school but for my son Noah. You are a very loving, kind, beautiful, & understanding person! Because of your love and dedication to people and the school you have done wonders & impacted personal lives and their education. Keep doing what you’re doing and being who you’re ! You rock Anne, as a person, a mom, a friend, a daughter and the principal of CES thank you for all you do!

  17. Your dedication to education, your staff, the kids and the community is a model for many to follow. You are fighting an uphill battle of generational poverty, unrealistic mandates by the state, social and economic problems that influence the ability of the child to learn. With all that going on, you look for ways to help your staff get the tools they need to educate the kids (and some of the parents). You also show love and kindness to those who may not have anyone else. Sitting in the ER with a child at 11pm whose not your own because there was no one else. This goes beyond being a Principal, this is an educator with a heart.

  18. Anne Shull has been a great leader for our school. She came in with a vision to improve our school and has worked with her staff to bring about positive change. She is very involved with her staff and students and decisions are based on what will benefit the students. She is willing to do whatever it takes to help our students and their families succeed.
    The school environment is positive for families and staff. There are so many great things to say about Anne. She is dedicated and continues to give all that she has each and everyday.

  19. She is amazing. She has helped all of my kids through any issue they had at school. She has a no bully policy and when someone mentions being bullied she’s the first one on scene. She is so giving and kind, her students truly come before anything else. She takes her job seriously and has pride in it. She has done an amazing job turning our school around. Every new Foster child I get I enroll with her and she makes them feel welcome and at home as much as possible.
    She’s truly amazing.

  20. What an amazing honor. This is written about me, but reflects the efforts and successes of so many others besides myself. I am humbled to be described in such a fashion! I have always said that as a leader I want to use the strengths of those around me to minimize my weaknesses. It is my pleasure to work with the students, staff and families that are apart of thr Chenowith Elementary community.

  21. Principle SHULL is one of the most professional administrators I’ve seen in the state. Her dedication to her staff and students is unparalleled.

  22. Anne Schull has been the most involved administrator I have ever worked for. She does change lives, she is strong, supportive and understanding. She doesn’t punish the actions of children she finds out the cause of their action to help the kids out of negative situations.

  23. This is my first year working for Mrs. Shull. She has been an incredible support to myself and my whole class. She has an open door policy if any of her staff need to talk. She know every student in our school and will take the time to talk to them. She is our staff’s biggest cheerleader.

  24. Principal Anne Shull has demonstrated what a caring, intelligent leader she is thru her efforts to improve and empower the Chenowith Elementary as a whole. Principal Shull works closely with parents to make sure all students and staff are safe and able to have the best learning environment possible. As a parent who has a child with special medical needs, I have worked very closely with Principal Shull and many of her staff. Anne’s leadership has brought a breath of fresh air into a school that was lagging behind other elementary schools in our area. I feel confident that my child is being well educated as well as having all of his medical needs taken care of in a professional, caring manner. I do not worry about my child when he goes to school. I am always a phone call away and the staff know me by name. Principal Anne Shull continues to be flexible but firm and is always honest, caring and professional. I sincerely hope the panel of judges chooses to award Principal Anne Shull with this honor!

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