Diana Haydon Leadership Profile

Peter Baugh

Once every year, kindergartners at Glenridge Elementary School draw directly on the surface of their art tables. After they finish, art teacher Diana Haydon and her students clean off their drawings and sign the bottom of the tables. Haydon wants them to have a sense of belonging.

“We have all kinds of signatures under that table because it’s theirs and they feel that sense of ownership there,” Haydon said.

Haydon has students, some of whom are in college, who come back to her room to find their kindergarten signature scrawled under the table.

As a leader of Glenridge students, Haydon feels strongly about the importance of belonging in a community. If one student feels included, they will make other students feel included as well.

“I think when people feel like they belong, they feel like they’re recognized and they help one another,” Haydon said.

Haydon has been teaching art for 30 years, 18 at Glenridge, and she strives to help her students find their own character as an artist and as a person.

“I think in the arts, you have to help them find their own voice and get them to believe that their mark is as valid as anybody else’s mark,” Haydon said.

She has three key principles of how she runs her classes.

“You have to build a sense of belonging, you have to find the strength in every person you work with and you have to be open to multiple viewpoints,” she said.

Haydon feels that the leadership she was shown has paved the way for her to be a good leader.

“Leaders are created by people who build a sense of community … people who have found strengths in me have allowed me to be a leader.”

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