Serving as a dean for the latter half of her 15-year career as an educator, former teacher Heidi A. Lang set her sights on the senior administrative role of dean of culture and grew into it after completing her master’s degree in educational leadership with honors from the University of New England and majoring as an undergraduate in psychology at the University of Colorado Boulder where she became certified in elementary curriculum and instruction—and because she had proven that she was adept at handling children who displayed challenging behaviors. Her career took a pivotal change, she recalled, when she received specialized training from an educational consultant during her first year as a dean. This consultant mentored her on de-escalation strategies, tiered behavior interventions, behavioral data documentation, and restorative practices, and coached her on facilitating strong professional development for staff. This specialized training, from a mentor she truly respects, sharpened her skillset in a profession she is very passionate about. As a dean, she uses her vast skills to provide comprehensive support for teachers faced with challenging student behavior.
Now, Ms. Lang is a professional veteran at implementing all these skills and more in her dual positions as the dean of Denver Public Schools and an educational consultant at Heidi A. Lang Educational Consultant, LLC, in Aurora, Colorado. An expert in school-wide behavior systems, she works on the leadership team at Denver Public Schools with the principal and assistant principals to shape school leadership goals, values, and visions. Ms. Lang is responsible for coaching other deans by modeling the protocol for responding to and de-escalating challenging and unsafe situations involving student behaviors and providing constructive feedback. She also coaches teachers on classroom management strategies.
Applying vital restorative and trauma-informed practices is key to Ms. Lang’s role, too, because it helps teachers and students to refocus and get back in the classroom after disruptions and ensures that students are taught to learn from their behavior and repair the harm done. She is well-versed in the education field’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports framework designed to help identify students’ academic, behavioral, and social-emotional strengths and challenges and provide support based on their specific needs. Looking to the future, Ms. Lang plans to continue building her consulting company, visit more schools, and travel to help schools with behavioral issues.
In early recognition of her work during her teaching years, Ms. Lang was named Teacher of the Month, and she was awarded a $1,000 classroom grant by the assistant superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools in New Mexico. After observing her class for just 30 minutes, the assistant superintendent told Ms. Lang that she would make a great school principal, sparking her interest in administration. In addition, she was elected as leader of the Instructional Council of Albuquerque. Adopting as her personal motto, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” the famous quote from professional ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, Ms. Lang attributes her success, in part, to keeping her patience and self-reflection intact alongside possessing the emotional constancy that is important for taking on challenges and solving problems. Mostly, she counts her achievements as the result of her mother, who taught her kindness, and her father, who instilled in her an automatic work ethic. She is who she is because of her parents, Ms. Lang says.
Parallel to her career, Ms. Lang supports causes that are closest to her heart by volunteering and donating to the National Wildlife Federation, the Ocean Conservatory, and the World Wildlife Fund. Devoted to her family, she is married, has “wonderful” in-laws, and adores her older brother and nephew. In her leisure time, she enjoys traveling, kickboxing, and hiking with her dog.