At its virtual public meeting on May 18, the Westfield Board of Education unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Tiffany Jacobson as principal of the Lincoln Early Childhood Center, effective July 1, 2021. Jacobson has served as interim principal at Lincoln for the past year.
“I am humbled and honored to be able to continue leading and supporting the educational initiatives that impact our youngest learners,” says Jacobson. “The Lincoln School community is welcoming, caring, and resilient and I am proud to be a part of it. I look forward to the year ahead as we work together to support the academic, social, and emotional development of our students.”
Over the past year, Jacobson has been in charge of the daily operation of Lincoln School, prioritizing the health, safety, and well-being of 254 students and approximately 80 staff members. She established clear expectations for lesson planning, delivering instruction and special education services, closely monitored the impact of hybrid and remote learning on student achievement, maintained steady two-way communication with Lincoln families, and fostered a school culture rooted in mutual respect, collaboration, and appreciation for differences.
“Throughout this past year, our staff remained resolute in their commitment to our youngest learners and our families were overwhelmingly supportive of our efforts,” says Jacobson. “Our students have made functional, academic, social and emotional gains. As this school year comes to a close, it is clear our youngest learners are happy and eager to build friendships.”
“It is no small feat to step into a school leadership role in the middle of a pandemic. As interim principal, Dr. Jacobson has handled this challenging year with grace and professionalism, always with the best interests of the students at the forefront of every decision,” adds Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan. “As Lincoln School principal, I am confident that she will continue to excel, as she and her team look forward to September.”
Dolan notes that Jacobson is “particularly well-versed in early literacy skills” and has a Reading Specialist certificate in addition to her advanced degrees.
Jacobson joined Westfield in 2017 as K-12 Supervisor of English/Language Arts, overseeing writing and revision of curriculum documents, facilitating professional development centered on research-based best practices in literacy instruction and library media sciences, and supervising approximately 180 teachers, both English Language Arts educators in grades K-12 and Library Media Specialists in grades K-8.
She says some of her “proudest accomplishments” as ELA supervisor include:
- playing an instrumental role in developing and implementing the Standards-Based Report Card for Kindergarten through grade five;
- leading a committee of K-5 teachers to design reading and writing units of study based on the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP);
- implementing the Wilson FUNdations word study program districtwide in grades K-2; and
- helping the district’s 14 elementary literacy coaches to create and turnkey staff training at the building levels.
Jacobson also served as committee chairperson of the Diversity in Texts Committee, which audited existing district-approved ELA titles for themes and topics pertaining to inclusiveness, diversity, and equity. She worked with the district’s instructional technology teacher to develop a digital bookshelf linking relevant resources for interactive read-alouds for children in grades K through 5, expanded the secondary school selections to challenge implicitly held biases, and curated suggested summer reading. Jacobson also lent her expertise to several other committees as well, including the district Professional Development and Technology committees.
Before joining Westfield, Jacobson spent nearly three years in the Metuchen School District as K-12 Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction and five years as a literacy coach in the Union City School District, where she also taught middle school English and social studies for five years. Jacobson also is an adjunct professor of education at Saint Peter’s University, where she received her doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2015. While at Saint Peter’s, she earned a Master’s degree in Education in 2005 and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 2003. Additionally, she holds a Master’s in Literacy Education from New Jersey City University, which she earned in 2007.
Jacobson was appointed last summer as interim Lincoln principal to give the district and the Board enough time to conduct a thorough search and a fair process. Forty-eight candidates applied for the position with an interview committee carefully reviewing each application. In addition to Dr. Dolan and Human Resources Specialist Barbara Ball, the interview committee for the Lincoln School position included an elementary school principal, two Lincoln teachers, a Lincoln parent, a district supervisor, and one Board member.
“It is my sincere desire to continue providing the staff and families of Lincoln School with the long term leadership necessary to traverse into a meaningful and stable post-pandemic educational experience,” says Jacobson.
Jacobson succeeds Audrey Zavatz who retired as Lincoln School principal on July 31, 2020.