Impact Stories » Dana Coleman: 7th & 8th Grade Principal

Dana Coleman: 7th & 8th Grade Principal

If you want students to succeed, you need teachers to succeed.

“The make or break of being a great teacher is development opportunities and the support you get from the administration,” said Dana Coleman, principal of the seventh and eighth grades at the Kauffman School. “This school has a really strong development program.”

Dana joined the Kauffman School faculty as a sixth-grade math teacher after spending two years with the Teach For America corps, teaching seventh- and eighth-grade math and science at another Kansas City school.

“When I came here, I was excited about the potential for long-term growth and the leadership opportunities,” Dana said. “I also knew that by being the best teacher I could be, I could really change the way our community and our country perceive what’s possible in this community. With the right resources, environment, and excellent teaching, every student can be successful. We want them to be able to choose their own life and profession, and not have it dictated by the ZIP code they’re born in.”

Dana also wants teachers to have the opportunity to choose their own path, supported by ongoing opportunities to learn and grow.

“The development our teachers receive is unmatched,” she said. “There are no ceilings here – your professional goals can be achieved. We have the vision and we will advocate for you.”

Dana’s career path at the Kauffman School demonstrates the power of that approach. After her initial teaching position, she was an instructional coach, managed the fifth- through eighth-grade math teachers, and served as the grade team chair.

Today, as principal, she focuses on maintaining a culture that promotes a high level of excellence for students, complete with academic rigor and high behavioral expectations.

Dana leads her team in each moment by asking a critical question: "What is the smartest option to set you up for success?"

With Dana's leadership, both students and teachers keep their focus toward success.
“I am constantly looking at what support and development the teachers need and how we can best support the students. We want to get them ready for the next step.” -Dana Coleman