Shawn Stibbins, new principal at Crest View Elementary, wants to see the school excel to the point that all families in its neighborhood strive to send their students there.
“I think for me, what I want to bring to Crest View is, I want Crest View to be a place where families want to come here, they feel safe here, they’re comfortable here,” he said. “I want to get Crest View to a place where we have a waiting list for students.”
In his youth, Stibbins attended public schools in St. Paul. Upon graduating, he attended Hamline University, where he briefly experimented in business courses before switching to an education focus.
Stibbins began his career in education as a teacher, teaching elementary level students in Minneapolis and later in Roseville. While in Roseville, he began transitioning out of the classroom and into administrative roles as a coach. He left Roseville for a similar position in Wayzata, and two years later became an assistant principal in the Robbinsdale district.
Most recently, Stibbins spent four years as a principal at Galtier Community School in St. Paul.
“Starting here, it’s made a big difference in terms of … what I know and the impact I’ll be able to have,” he said.
In total, Stibbins has spent 18 years working in education as a licensed teacher.
“I think the school is a really good fit for me. … Looking at some of the things that the district is doing, [Superintendent] Dr. [Kate] Maguire has put in place systems that have been effective, and also the racial equity work that they have been doing was also a huge selling point for me,” Stibbins added.
The student makeup of the school, as well as the academic challenges the school has faced, were both factors that made Stibbins want his current position.
“Part of me getting into education was about me giving back to the community and trying to make a difference in the lives of the students, and going into it as a teacher that’s what I felt, and as an administrator now it’s on a different level,” he said. “I feel like I hopefully have a bigger impact on more students.”
The openness of the school’s staff members to change has been helpful in the transition into his position, he said.
Stibbins has worked with staff to maximize class time for students who may have discipline issues.
“We want students in the classroom as much as possible because that’s where they’re going to learn. … If there’s a disruption in the classroom and a teacher calls for support and the student is taken out of the classroom, the student leaves the classroom as an individual, so they go from being a part of this collective to being an individual,” he said.
“Another change that I made is allowing teachers the opportunity to have someone come to their class and monitor the class and take over the instruction while they met with a student, and conference with a student to maintain that relationship,” he added. “There’s going to be a lot of positive changes at Crest View.”