Elevate Spotlight:

Focusing on the Good with Keynoter Tanyelle L. Hannah

To say Tanyelle L. Hannah is a motivational force would be underselling her experience, passion and ability. Everyone sits up and listens when Tanyelle, or “Principal Hannah” as she’s lovingly known, takes the stage. Tanyelle’s life-affirming perspective, her humorous delivery and her drive for representing urban communities and students of color are outright contagious.  

Tanyelle took up the mantle of her administrative roles (Principal, Educator, Case Manager) because she believes, “It’s important to find someone who speaks our language, understands the problems and promises of your leadership, and sees you as a person.” She consciously chooses to focus on the positive, celebrate the small wins, and intentionally uses the words, “scholars” and “villagers” rather than, “students” and “parents.” These core components of her educational philosophy have shaped her career, her school and her impact in the Conscious Discipline community.  

Whether navigating a global pandemic, facing racial injustice or attempting to balance learning and leading with parenting, Tanyelle ensures she always remembers the following: 

  1. Celebrate the wins 
  2. Remember your “why” 

If pressed, Tanyelle wouldn’t list her litany of awards as great victories (though she has earned the prestigious Game Changer Award from Chicago Public Schools and is a valued member of the Black Principal’s Network) because she believes in celebrating every single win, no matter the size. In districts that face poverty, crime and lack of resources, this approach is critical. “There’s joy in the journey,” she says, “Our heart space is filled with every small win. We celebrate everything.”  

Tanyelle’s example answers the question so often asked of her and of other leaders in urban districts: Would Conscious Discipline work here, too?  

It can. It has. The attendance record and behavior improvement at Mays Academy is proof.  

But sometimes, Tanyelle says, proof isn’t enough to sustain us. That’s when we have to pull from something deeper. Tanyelle recounts how her grandmother worked for $5.00 a day so her mother could go to school out of district. Her mother eventually became a principal, and Tanyelle followed in her footsteps. It’s this legacy and the Conscious Discipline tenet “whatever you focus on, you get more of,” that pushes Tanyelle forward and drives her to inspire others to achieve. 

You’re bound to walk away from Tanyelle’s talks inspired by a few things: A renewed sense of purpose, a focus on the good and some tools you can implement immediately, regardless of what community you serve in or where you are on your journey. A previous Elevate speaker, Tanyelle returns to the stage as a keynote presenter in 2023 in what she says will be an inspirational must-see for educators and administrators in need of a little encouragement, motivation and love. Tanyelle says she knows your time is valuable, commits to using it wisely while she has it, and promises you’ll walk away with actionable steps that will carry you long into the future. “I want to provide you with the inspiration to continue this work long after it feels good in the moment,” Tanyelle said.  

Register for Elevate Conscious Discipline: Renew Your Passion and Purpose in Orlando, FL from Oct 12-14 to witness Principal Hannah in action!  


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