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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.

Dr. Thornell currently works as a consultant for school leadership with The Center for Model Schools. 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. His passion revolves around mentoring and developing school leaders to enhance education for all.


Robert previously served 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. 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 current Board member of Learning Forward – Texas as well as membership in 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 previously 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.

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