Director of School Support and Improvement Wins Shirley Award
An educator for 23 years, Audra Fladung began her career in 1994 as a substitute teacher at Jackson Road Elementary School. Since 2014, she has served as the director of school support and improvement for the Northeast Consortium and Poolesville cluster elementary schools. She is this year’s winner of the Dr. Edward Shirley Award for Excellence in Educational Administration and Supervision.
She is a purposeful leader with strong skills in human resource development, resource management, professional involvement, and community and stakeholder involvement. She supports aspiring principals in the Leadership Development Program by providing feedback, resources and modeling of effective leadership and instructional practices.
Fladung constantly recognizes, identifies and fosters potential in others. She created and led professional development sessions for principals and school leadership teams that aligned with the system’s strategic priorities and developed the instructional leadership capabilities of team leaders. She empowers building administrators and grade-level team leaders to identify and collectively share classroom-level problems of practice that focus on the instructional core.
She constantly participates in and provides support to stakeholders within and beyond the school community. She solicited input on instructional programs and school operations through the use of Baldrige-guided school improvement tools and processes. She has collaborated with multiple offices and community agencies to coordinate resources for schools and families.
She is also an adjunct professor at Towson University, where she teaches rising educators.
Fladung’s career with MCPS has also included positions as a teacher at Jackson Road Elementary School, a staff development and literacy teacher at Burnt Mills Elementary School and an assistant principal at Potomac Elementary School. In her seven years as principal at Stonegate Elementary School, she instilled a feeling a community within her staff, and her interactions with parents were always respectful, courteous and positive. Everyone she meets feels valued. She worked to be in classrooms on a daily basis and left feedback for teachers. She was able to build meaningful relationships with her students, in part by holding weekly lunch bunches and checking in on their success.
School colleagues have called her a dedicated leader and a knowledgeable problem solver. As a principal, she prioritized and simplified the demands placed on those she led. By analyzing school climate surveys, test data and her personal observations, she was able to focus on her staff’s strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately, student needs.
She “always listens attentively and is able to skillfully diagnose, suggest, coach and guide principals as they navigate their work as leaders,” wrote Sarah Sirgo, a fellow director of school support and improvement. “She understands individuals and groups well, knows when to take initiative, when to step back, and understands and supports the vision of a contemporary school leader.”
Fladung will be among the honorees at the Champions for Children Gala on April 26, an event hosted by MCPS and the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education (MCBRE).