Dr. Ian M. Banner, Principal
Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long…We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths – Walt Disney
Dear Parents and Families:
As the proud Principal of Roger Sherman Elementary School, I am blessed to serve with and alongside such a wonderful and welcoming staff and community. Sherman is much less a neighborhood school and much more a family striving to make our world and our children more insightful, more accepting of others, kinder and healthier.
At Sherman, we are proud of our efforts and continued work in striving for and reaching high standards of academic achievement, social-emotionally-conscious living, and environmentally sensible actions. For example, the vast majority of our students are reading on grade level and achieving on grade level in math, and we continue to witness frequent and numerous acts of grit and perseverance, as well as kindness and compassion.
Sherman also embraces the dialogue centered on the necessity and challenge of technology use and digital citizenship and supporting and protecting children in the information age. We have also broadened our view of what it means to be diverse and accepting of the varied and often subtle differences in ourselves and others. Additionally, we have piloted programs to minimize waste and use of plastic in the cafeteria, increased our efforts to recycle and to make our space inviting and calming. These efforts have provided a platform on which we will aim to increase student achievement and behavioral performance, accepting and celebrating differences, and embracing an eco-friendly lifestyle in the coming years.
I am a firm believer of openness and transparency, and in that very spirit, I’d like to share just a little about my experiences that have informed my perspective on children, learning and leadership, such that I hope it provides a sense of the framework that often directs and influences my decision-making.
Aside from having earned five degrees, I have accrued 20 years of instructional and leadership experience working in Fairfield Public Schools as both a teacher at the elementary level (12 years), and as a building leader at the secondary level (8 years). I have also taught at the graduate level as an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University, and I have worked with the State’s teacher certification licensure program as a teacher-trainer/presenter and head scorer of the teacher portfolio for licensure. Prior to coming to the US, I played soccer with three professional clubs in England, coached professionally with the national governing body, and was head coach of a first division professional women’s team while overseeing the youth program. I have also served in numerous roles in this country, including Director of Coaching, as well as consulting to both youth and college programs, and have thus logged just as many years as experience in coaching as I have in education.
These experiences and my academic pursuits have led me to view human learning as a meaning-making endeavor and not an exercise in simply acquiring facts and information. As Margaret Mead, a cultural anthropologist, once said: Children must be taught to think, not what to think. Even young children need to experience how facts and information inform ideas, thoughts and actions, and they must be provided opportunities use facts to explore and begin to understand how the world works, and how we, as people, work within it. I truly feel that there is no more joy than that derived from experiencing firsthand and supporting the journey of our youngest children towards developing into well-balanced and industrious individuals who are capable of greater levels of acceptance of and collaboration with all people. It’s also essential that we support them in developing a comfort in considering alternative ways of understanding and operating in a diverse and dynamic ecosystem such as ours. And it is through this view, I feel, the purpose and value of education can be realized and understood.
The vision for my role of principal is not unlike any other leadership position in which I have served, which has been to place a premium on excellent instruction and planning rich learning experiences, and to establish a culture and climate of respect, courtesy, collaboration and investment that can be felt by all—children, staff and parents. I feel that little is accomplished unless the people with whom one serves and supports feel valued, involved, and emotionally and physically safe, and I also want them to be clear as to the goals we are aiming to meet, that the standards are high, and that to support such work, we must also enjoy what we do, laugh often, and bring joy to the time we spend together.
I want to thank you all for your support of the Sherman teachers and staff, and especially the students. With some big changes this year, you have been a fantastic group with whom to work, and I consider myself blessed to be on your team. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for our children and our Sherman staff and community.
As always, I truly look forward to working with and for you this coming year, and I am again excited to partner with you and the wonderful staff to support our Sherman elementary students and community.
Dr. Ian M. Banner
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