Message from Principal Michelle Shelton

  • August, 2023

    Dear Downes Family,

    First, allow me to introduce myself. I am Dr. Michelle Shelton, and I will be your principal for the 2023-2024 school year. Though I am new to Downes, I have been with Christina School District for 3 full school years as an administrator in Wilmington. Prior to that, I spent 13 years as a teacher and leader of districts in New Jersey.

    I would like you to know that I am excited to be a part of Downes, and have begun to familiarize  myself with the symbolic elements of the school. I am filled with so much excitement because I have had the pleasure of working closely with many members of the Parent Teacher Association and the Building Leadership Team this summer. I look forward to working closely with the whole of our team very soon.

    As a leader, I am very deliberate about making connections and encouraging a deepening of our collaborative relationship. I am a bridge builder, and I know instinctively that the secret to great teams is casting by individual strength so that everyone can do a lot of what they do well. It is important to me that you know that you are my village now, and my goal is to ensure our success for the benefit of our students. Please know there is not a day that will pass where we will go without some form of achievement, no matter how small. That is why it is important to ensure we acknowledge our victories as often as we can.

    Please know I will continue the traditions that make Downes Elementary School so special –like the weekly Shark Bites and the daily Morning Messages. I also look forward to embracing authentic opportunities to manifest new traditions.

    I am elated to welcome the new members of our school community. Let us ensure they feel at home, and let us greet them with excitement that lets them know they have made the right decision to join us on our journey.

    And, without further ado, I am happy to report that the front vestibule as well as the additional classrooms for our Chinese Immersion Program will be completed before your arrival. I am also happy to report that I was able to convince our Facilities Department to refresh our exterior. This will include refreshing the paint in the front parking lot as well as power washing and repainting the front exterior.

    Thank you for making me feel welcome. I look forward to our new school year together.


    Dr. Michelle Shelton Principal