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  • Welcome to North Canyon High School, home of the Rattlers! At North Canyon our teachers create a challenging and rewarding learning environment for all students. Our teachers, support staff and administration are dedicated to student success and growth. This is evident each and every day in classrooms and in the casual interactions between students and staff in the hallways and at school events. We are a Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) school. Our "Rattler Pride" expectations, developed by students, are: be respectful, be accountable, be responsible and take initiative. Our mission is "to empower students to care, learn, and succeed, ensuring college and career readiness;" and we work extremely hard to focus on each part of the mission. North Canyon is a welcoming school. Besides our signature (IB, AVID, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Services) and academic programs, we have wonderful fine arts and career/technical education electives so that students have the opportunity to pursue their interests. Participation in sports and clubs offers other opportunities to make high school memorable. Come join the North Canyon family.

Our own Elaine Jacobs chosen as a Rodel Exemplary Principal


Five Maricopa County principals are among eight statewide named a Rodel Exemplary Principal.

They are Heather Henderson from Arizona Charter Academy in Surprise, Elaine Jacobs from North Canyon High School in the Paradise Valley Unified District, Kyann McMillie from Wildflower School in the Avondale Elementary District, Lisa Sandomir from Maurice C. Cash Elementary in the Laveen Elementary District and Amy Uchacz from Pima Elementary in the Scottsdale Unified District.

The Rodel Foundation partnered with Social Venture Partners of Arizona to develop the Rodel Exemplary Principal Initiative. The idea is to recognize outstanding leaders and create a pipeline of principals for Arizona's high-needs schools.

The Rodel Foundation provided insights from each principal. Read below to see what the winning principals had to say.

Elaine Jacobs

Elaine Jacobs is principal of North Canyon High School. The school, part of the Paradise Valley Unified District, has 1,935 students in grades 9-12. Jacobs has spent 35 years in public education, serving as a classroom teacher, 3 a high school counselor, a middle school assistant principal, a middle school principal and as a high school principal. She is president of the district principals organization, on the Teacher Evaluation Committee, the Hard-to-Fill Committee, the Employee Support Professional Growth Committee and the Beat the Odds program. Jacobs has a bachelor's degrees in English from Penn State University, a master's in counseling from the University of Phoenix and principal certification from the University of Phoenix.

Inspiration for leadership

"I loved being a teacher as well as a counselor and never left those positions for money or accolades. Being a principal allows me the opportunity to create programs that help students be successful. For example, while principal at Vista Verde, I brought both the AVID and IB MYP programs to the school and district. I was able to work with our student government to begin a dialogue about Unified Sports and PE."

Setting high expectations

"I am very transparent. I believe in saying what I mean and meaning what I say. I stand up to the plate, letting all stakeholders know what my beliefs are about teaching and learning. I feel very strongly that an institution cannot change unless everyone is rowing in the same direction. I believe we must celebrate our success as we move toward our goals and hold ourselves accountable for the 'misses.' "

A tip for new principals

"Listen carefully and take the time to step back and assess before implementing new ideas or programs or responding to a concern. Staff often look to the principal to 'have the answers,' as they should. It's perfectly acceptable to say, 'Let me think about that,' and then get back to the staff member. Often 'thinking about that' will entail talking to other staff members in order to have a complete picture."

Collaborating with the community

"Last spring, we began a North Canyon Business Advisory to better understand and make 'real world' connections for our students. The Advisory includes a number of significant education and business members. Our goals are to provide mentoring opportunities for our students, to better understand industry standards and to join with our Advisory members in community service projects. Together, we have addressed: school-to-work connections, the importance of effective communication skills and heightening career awareness."