From the National Association of Secondary School Principals:
Laurie Barron, principal of Smokey Road Middle School in Newnan, has been named a finalist in the 2013 MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program for her significant contributions to student achievement.
When Barron became the principal of Smokey Road eight years ago, the school of nearly 800 students was plagued by discipline problems, high absenteeism, and low student achievement. By building trusting relationships and promoting shared leadership, however, Barron was able to restore confidence among students, teachers, and community members.
Under Barron’s leadership, stakeholder input is highly valued; teachers receive meaningful professional development and leadership opportunities; and most importantly, students benefit from constant recognition, personal relationships with adults in the building, and customized instruction based on data outcomes.
“Dr. Laurie Barron motivates her students and teachers daily and she…is always moving throughout the hallways each morning encouraging students, listening to concerns, and monitoring everything that takes place,” said Marc Guy, assistant superintendent of Coweta County Schools.
Today, Smokey Road is regularly recognized for its achievements. The diverse middle school, which made AYP for the last six years, was named a 2011 MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School for being high-achieving while serving a large number of students in poverty. It has also received distinction as a Georgia Title I Distinguished School for the past four years. “Laurie loves all her students and goes the extra mile to reach them,” Guy said.
The search for the national principal of the year began in early 2012 as each state principals’ association selected its state principal of the year. From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selected three middle level and three high school finalists. The national middle level and high school winners will be named in September and recognized in Washington, DC, during the Principals Institute for State Principals of the Year, Sept. 19-22.
Barron and the other five finalists will each receive a $1,500 grant, and the two national award winners — one high school and one middle level — will receive additional grants of $3,500. The grants will be used to improve learning at the school (e.g., a special school project and/or professional development opportunities).
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog