Donna Hayward began her professional career as a high school mathematics teacher after earning her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Smith College. Inspired by her own high school principal, Donna completed her Sixth Year through UCONN and served as Assistant Principal/ Principal of Rocky Hill High School for a decade. During this time, she markedly increased Advanced Placement opportunities and standardized test scores and reduced discipline, leading to her presentation of effective strategies at the State’s annual data conference and the NASSP’s national conference. She was honored as the Connecticut Assistant Principal of the Year in 2006. Donna then served as Principal of Suffield High School for six years, during which time she opened a new Agriscience center and led her school to exceed prior academic performance in all areas. She now serves as Principal of Haddam Killingworth High School which earned the National Blue Ribbon in her fourth year. Donna was named the CT Principal of the Year in 2022 and is the NASSP’s National Principal of the Year for 2023. From this platform, she has advocated for educators in Washington, DC and across the country to elevate educators and public education, secure more mental health support for young people, protect teachers and administrators from defamation on social media, and support women in leadership. She is a keynote speaker and frequent presenter on topics ranging from how to incorporate storytelling in advocacy, developing and leading with student voice, leveraging leadership with all stakeholders, digital safety for educators, and empowering women in the educational workplace.
Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.