Speaking of being intentional and productive, Assistant Principal Daphne Van Dorn made a steely resolution 15 years ago when she arrived at George J. Ryan Middle School in Queens, where she encountered a large, diverse middle school with the lowest student performance in the district. She rolled up her sleeves and helped devise a comprehensive turnaround plan. To advance her own skills, she became a devotee of CSA’s Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) training program for assistant principals. ELI was the brainchild of former CSA President Jill Levy. “I attended monthly classes and learned many things such as organization and leadership skills, writing observations,” Daphne recalls, “and even how to converse with teachers.” George J. Ryan rose out of the ashes to rank in the top 10 percent of NYS middle schools. This year, the school received a National Blue-Ribbon Award. Virtually all students in the gifted and talented program that Ms. Van Dorn established get one to two offers to attend specialized high schools.