LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Douglas Timm

Position: Principal
School: Carrie Downie Elementary School
School District: Colonial School District
City, State: New Castle, DE

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Music that Describes Douglas

Douglas Timm was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

Mr. Timm has been in education for 19 years. After teaching in the classroom, he became an assistant principal in 2005. He has been principal of Carrie Downie Elementary in New Castle, Delaware for the last seven years. Here, he has undoubtedly impacted the lives of students and the surrounding community.

If you were to walk into Carrie Downie Elementary on any given morning, you would be greeted by loud upbeat music and a big "good morning" from Mr. Timm himself. Each and every morning, he greets students by name and welcomes them to school with a high five and a smile. That's not the only time students see their principal during the day, however. Mr. Timm also does lunch duty every day. He famously eats lunch standing up and has done so every day that he's been an administrator. Of course, lunch also has to mirror Mr. Timm's mornings, as well as his personality. Not only can you find him opening milk cartons for kindergarteners, but conducting challenges such as the Mannequin Challenge, as well as running video interviews about lunch entrees, ice cream, and other important issues to ten year olds.

It's hard not to feel like you're at home when you walk into the building where Mr. Timm is the principal. He has helped create an atmosphere where all are welcome. This is evident in the weekly videos he produces himself. Students and teachers alike look forward to this weekly treat, where they literally see their school lives play out each week. In addition, it's a great way for parents to feel like they're a part of their student's school day. He visits every classroom weekly, if not, daily. It's not uncommon for this principal to be part of the lesson. His presence is so commonplace that students don't even make a big deal when he comes in; that's just Mr. Timm, visiting like always.

Mr. Timm is fun, and he makes school fun and safe for everyone. Every year, you can be sure to count on some annual traditions from Mr. Timm. One of them is the school-wide Musical Chairs competition. It's exactly like it sounds. Another is the school-wide Dance Off between classes. Lastly, you can always be assured that on March 21st, Mr. Timm will be wearing mismatched socks for "Rock Your Socks" in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day. He'll not only be wearing mismatched socks, but together with the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware, he makes sure that every staff member and student at his school has brand new mismatched socks available to them to wear each year as well. Then, he visits each classroom that day with a special Principal of the Day: his brother, who has Down Syndrome. Together, they bring awareness, answer questions, and just act like brothers.

Mr. Timm is his school community's biggest cheerleader and advocate. He will bend over backwards to help anyone and has done so on many occasions. He is flexible and accommodating. Students, teachers, and parents know they can count on him and rely on him. He cares deeply. He will drive to teachers' and parents' homes and drop off things that need to be dropped off. Mr. Timm is generous, not only with his time, but with his money. You can find Mr. Timm at almost any local school or community event. Usually, he's the one who is DJ-ing. His school is fortunate enough to have a professional DJ as their principal, as it comes in handy on many occasions, but he has also been the DJ for many school and community events. Mr. Timm does not just contribute to his own school, but the district and community at large.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has proven to be like no other. Everywhere, educators have been doing their best, and Mr. Timm is no exception. He has continued to do daily announcements for his school, but instead of making them over the intercom, he records them on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram with a green screen background. That act alone provides his teachers and students with some sense of normalcy. Parents have commented on these daily announcements saying they appreciate it, too, for the connection to school as well as the information provided. Have school dances been canceled because of the pandemic? No, not at Carrie Downie with DJ Principal Timm! Instead, he has hosted some Instagram Live dances for his school. When other principals and educators heard about it, they reached out asking for his DJ services. Of course, Mr. Timm agreed. He even DJ'ed the local high school drive-by graduation services. 

Mr. Timm not only volunteers, but he also leads. He was part of the organizing team for "Hands Across the 9," a community-led event to "demonstrate community, build unity, and highlight the fact that we are all connected in the fabric of humanity." This show of community solidarity and social awareness parallels Mr. Timm's thoughts and values. He was the first principal in his district to have equity-focused professional development at his school, all while pushing for the need district-wide. Eventually, Colonial School District committed to not only confronting racism and its systemic impact on our community, but doing everything in its power to eliminate it.

Mr. Timm continues to be instrumental in this feat. He is part of the District Equity Team, and he helps create and provide district-wide equity professional development. He also started Edcamp Leader Delaware in 2016. This is an annual educator-led conference dedicated to giving passionate educators the freedom to facilitate, move, and discuss important issues in relation to their own growth and discovery. It's an "unconference" conference which is completely free and the only one of its kind in the state of Delaware. He also helps coordinate the Colonial Tech Conference, an annual instructional technology conference throughout the Delaware region focused on professional learning, networking, and collaboration. He helped with the creation of #delachat ,a Twitter chat dedicated to talking about all things educational in the state of Delaware. Mr. Timm has presented at numerous conferences at local, state, and national levels, including Policy & Practice Institute: Delaware's Conference on Public Education, as well as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

Mr. Timm also started his own podcast called "Speaking Educationally," where he and two other educators "dive into a lot of discussions around things that are uncomfortable to speak about in educational circles." Finally, he also serves on the elected Executive Board of Delaware Association of School Administrators (DASA) where he works to advance education through service, leadership, and collaboration.

Mr. Timm has always expressed the importance of thinking globally and acting locally. It's this mindset, coupled with his actions, that make him a LifeChanger in his community. He is dedicated to making a beneficial difference in the lives of students each and every day. He goes above and beyond to create a positive school atmosphere and is a proven leader at all levels.

Comments (5)

Charles Cooper Posted over a year ago

Doug was cut from a rare, wonderful, open minded educational fabric. He’s a deep thinker always looking to ground his theory to what is best for his teachers and students in the here and now.

Sarah Thomas Posted over a year ago

Doug Timm is a phenomenal administrator and has a huge heart for all students. He is also connected to many educators around the world, committed to lifelong learning, and always willing to share and lend a helping hand.

Tammy Neil Posted over a year ago

Doug has been so inspirational as we traverse this pandemic. He has continued to give above and beyond the call of duty.

Justin schleider Posted over a year ago

Doug has changed the trajectory of my teaching. I have learned a lot from him and grown as a human.

Equetta Jones Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Doug!!