As principal of Woodrow Wilson Primary School, Kelly Schuler oversees 385 students and 58 staff members for Peoria Public Schools. An instructional leader and persistent champion for her students, she has brought focus to social- and emotional-learning instruction, and serves as a tremendous resource and role model for teachers, staff and parents. Being an educator is not just her job, it is her passion.
When Schuler came to the school three years ago, she took time to analyze the needs of staff and students—earning their respect and trust—before attempting to make any changes. Under her leadership, out-of-school suspensions dropped by two thirds in one year, while family involvement increased by nine percent, according to the annual Illinois 5Essentials Survey. Parental influence on decision-making also saw significant gains, and scores in nearly every other category showed improvement.
With her “family first” mantra, Schuler provides support for all members of the Woodrow Wilson family, regularly going above and beyond her duties to create a positive environment for students. She cultivates special relationships with each child, encouraging them to reach their highest potential and using her positive energy to instill in them an excitement for learning. She acts as “school mom” to those who need extra love and attention, serves as a mentor for young teachers, and works tirelessly to provide opportunities for parents, guardians and family members to get involved at the school.
Understanding that learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom, Schuler organizes service projects so students experience the importance of giving back to their community, and recruits members of the community to participate in student celebrations and events.
Outside of work, her volunteerism includes serving as soccer coach for the Peoria Journal Star traveling team, girls’ volleyball coach at St. Philomena School, and yearbook project leader and manager at St. Philomena. She has also volunteered with St. Jude and helped organize the collection of tornado relief supplies for the City of Washington. She was recognized with an Academic Achievement Award by Bradley University in 2014 while working toward her master’s degree in educational administration. iBi