Be Bold In Your Journey
Dr. Robert Thornell has made it his career passion to help make educational leaders better. He believes strongly that a quality campus administrator is the key to a successful school and continually seeks ways to use his skills, experience, and knowledge to help shape the future of school leaders. His dissertation, from Baylor University, centered on the mentorship of campus administrators and he has continued that pursuit throughout his career.
It is his passion for helping school leaders to improve their performance and results that have allowed Robert to intentionally develop skills in five distinct areas of school performance. Educators under his guidance have excelled in:
Effective Leadership - Including both instructional and servant leadership, clear communication and feedback, and strategic planning and implementation of learning teams to allow campus leaders to collaborate, and work with aspiring administrators.
Ambitious Instruction - Including implementing highly effective professional learning communities, instructional rounds, lesson design, and responsive planning through data analysis.
Collaborative Teachers - Implementing effective professional learning communities both vertically by content and cross-curricular; training teacher leaders, and critical friends processes to allow for ongoing support.
Supportive Environment - Including initiatives to address students' strengths and challenge the perceptions surrounding the achievement gap, increasing participation and performance in advanced academics for ALL students.
Involving Families - Implementing strategic planning with all community stakeholders and developing localized community-based accountability systems.
Dr. Thornell currently works with NWEA as a School Improvement Coach. Other interests include his collaboration with non-profit SchoolRubric, serving as the Director of Organizational and School Leadership, to assist in helping educators around the world. He is also currently working as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas in their educational leadership doctoral program. His passion revolves around mentoring and developing school leaders to enhance education for all.
Robert previously served in Leadership Development in Lewisville ISD and as Deputy Superintendent in Northwest ISD, near Fort Worth, TX. He oversaw the curriculum and instruction, technology, and facilities & planning, athletics, and fine arts departments. Prior to that role, Dr. Thornell was Assistant Superintendent for curriculum and instruction with a focus on instructional goals and professional learning communities with an emphasis on principal leadership.
Dr. Thornell also has served as the Executive Director of Curriculum and Staff Development where his responsibilities included oversight of curriculum development, implementation, and professional learning. While in that position, he was instrumental in the development of a district-wide Community-Based Accountability system that incorporated multiple measures of student growth.
Dr. Thornell’s campus experience includes serving as the Principal of Chisholm Trail Middle School. Under his leadership, the school was named a “National School to Watch” by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). He also has served as a Principal of Timberline Elementary school, which is a PreK-5 bilingual campus. He began his career in education as a fourth and fifth-grade teacher.
His book, Inside the Principal’s Office, published in 2020, reached #1 on the Amazon “New Releases” list and #8 on the “Best Sellers” list for Education Administration. He also publishes a blog entitled Intentionally Bold, which is geared towards educational leaders.
Dr. Thornell is actively involved in professional learning organizations and is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), Learning Forward, Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), and Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA). He has served on the Board of Directors of Texas ASCD. He is a certified trainer for the National Institute of School Leadership (NISL), a program designed for transformational school leaders, and is a graduate of the Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy. A true educator at heart, he has presented at the state and national level on topics ranging from professional development to education transformation.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies from Texas Tech University and his master’s degree in education administration from the University of North Texas. He earned his doctorate in educational administration from Baylor University where his research focused on the mentorship of the first-year campus administrators.
Inside the Principal's Office
A Leadership Guide to Inspire Reflection and Growth
Inside the Principal's Office is designed all types of school leaders! Campus administrators or those that aspire to be one day will find this book to be intentional and inspiring. It has leadership analogies and anecdotes to help both veteran and new school administrators improve their craft. The book is built on the foundation of five distinct roles a principal plays and offers weekly challenges/reminders to help you stay on track throughout the year.