Erin Huseby | Director | KIPP DC Virtual Learning Program
We are excited to shine a spotlight on Erin Huseby, the director of the KIPP DC Virtual Learning Program. Erin is originally from Minnesota, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and justice & peace studies from the University of St. Thomas, as well as a master’s degree in elementary and middle school administration from the University of Houston. Erin first joined the KIPP DC community in 2013 as the manager of PD & Certification for the Capital Teaching Residency, and she later served as the vice principal and principal of KIPP DC Promise Academy. In 2021, she took on her current role as director of the Virtual Learning Program. Erin is deeply committed to addressing educational inequities and equipping students with the skills they need to succeed. With her dedicated team, she is able to make a positive impact on the minds of over 200 students.
What thrills you about being a principal?
“It is truly a joy to witness the excitement of students as they log in for school every day, especially in elementary school. They are simply thrilled to be there, and their faces are pressed right up to the screen. In middle school, their excitement takes on a different form, as they are eager to connect with their peers and engage in breakout rooms. It is amazing to see them settle into their virtual school environment and discover who they are and who they want to become in the world, all while feeling safe and supported in this virtual space.
Additionally, working with staff across the country has been a uniquely rewarding experience. Building a virtual community and culture that fosters connections and collaboration has been an exciting challenge. I have been thrilled to hear from staff members that they feel more connected to their colleagues in this virtual space than they did when they were in-person. The intentional approach we’ve taken to building this staff culture has been a source of great excitement for me.”
What excites you about this school year?
“I think the virtual space offers a unique opportunity to personalize and tailor instruction to meet students’ individual needs. This year, we have successfully leveraged this flexibility in two particular areas, and we plan to expand these practices program-wide next year.
In the elementary school, we have implemented Walk to Read, where students are assigned to different teachers based on their reading level. This allows them to receive instruction from a teacher who is an expert in their specific reading abilities and needs. Although students are not physically walking to a different teacher’s classroom, they attend a different teacher’s Zoom session. This creates a sense of belonging in two different spaces within the virtual school – their home room class and their reading class – which provides a more personalized and supportive learning experience.”
What are your favorite characteristics of students and families within the Virtual Learning Program?
“I love how our students feel comfortable enough to share their talents with us. Whether it’s showcasing their drawings or dance moves, their willingness to share allows us to get to know them in a unique way. In a virtual school, family partnerships take on a different look and feel, and we rely heavily on our families. It’s amazing to see parents’ excitement about their students’ learning experiences and the different approaches we take in our school. It’s also wonderful to see them participate in our family events and witness their enthusiasm for being part of our community. We prioritize creating these spaces for them because it’s what they’ve requested, and we’re committed to meeting their needs. I appreciate our families’ openness and their willingness to share their desires for their children’s education and what they want from their teachers.”
Erin Huseby has had a tremendous impact within the KIPP DC community, and we are thrilled to recognize her as April’s School Leader Spotlight for her outstanding leadership and commitment to our students.