Three High School Principals Chosen as Finalists for National Award

By Catherine Gewertz — June 27, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Middle and high school principals from Colorado, Georgia, and Virginia have been tapped as finalists to become 2017’s national secondary school principal of the year.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals will announce the winner in October. A panel of judges chose the finalists from among the state high school principals of the year, who were in turn selected by their states’ principals’ associations. NASSP’s current national principal of the year is Alan Tenreiro of Cumberland High School in Rhode Island.

The three finalists are:

Tom Dodd, principal of Lesher Middle School, Fort Collins, Colo.

Dodd garnered attention for turning around Lesher Middle School, which now has a waiting list after hovering on the verge of closure. Concerned that an International Baccalaureate program at the school created two tracks of students, Dodd expanded use of the school’s competency-based report cards from the IB program to the entire school, and built a culture that prizes close monitoring and support for all students by their teachers. To support teachers, Dodd reworked the schedule to allow for 80 minutes daily of common planning time. During Dodd’s 11-year tenure, Lesher Middle School has been recognized as a school to watch by the NASSP and the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform.

Melissa Hensley, principal of Central High School, Woodstock, Va.

Hensley has been recognized for her work to build a shared leadership model with her teachers. Teachers help shape key school improvement priorities and their own professional development. The U.S. Department of Education invited Hensley and her team to discuss their work at the department’s “Teach to Lead” summit earlier this year. Hensley’s work has also focused on building student leadership, by adopting an active, project-based learning approach.

Stephanie Johnson, principal of Maynard H. Jackson High School, Atlanta, Ga.

Georgia leaders sought out Johnson in 2012 to turn around Jackson High School, which was languishing near the bottom of the state’s list of weak high schools. With intensive outreach to her community, Johnson has built an array of Advanced Placement classes for students, instituted an International Baccalaureate program, and expanded co-curricular offerings to build student engagement. Scores on state tests have risen in all student subgroups.

Photos: NASSP

Get High School & Beyond posts delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re published. Sign up here. Also, for news and analysis of issues that shape adolescents’ preparation for work and higher education.

A version of this news article first appeared in the High School & Beyond blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP