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Birmingham principal leads by example. Never stops learning.

At West End Academy in Birmingham, Dr. Chandra Watkins leads by example. “She really wants to learn as a leader,” says ANet coach Keneisha Alford, who works with Dr. Watkins and her team. “She has a growth mindset and doesn’t hide what she wants to do to improve. She shows up to every interaction with great questions and ideas, and she sets high expectations for herself and her teachers.”

For the past year, Keneisha and Dr. Watkins have been working to bring West End Academy’s leadership team to the next level, and Dr. Watkins’s positive and candid presence has made this shift possible. “The growth is clear,” says Keneisha. “The leadership team is open in conversation, they ask questions, there’s dialogue. They’re all on the same page and they’re constantly working to keep developing as a team.”

The team is currently focused on supporting West End Academy’s teachers as they deepen their knowledge of text-first planning. Keneisha is excited about the progress she already sees, which she credits it to Dr. Watkins’s diligence. “Her knowledge base is always growing, and she brings that to her team and her teachers,” says Keneisha. “Her teachers see a leader who’s really committed to the changes we want to see, and it helps them buy into it, too. Her positivity and dedication are contagious.”

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