By Mary Waggoner, Everett Public Schools Director of Communications.
The principal of Everett Public School’s alternative high school was honored by her peers by being selected as the region’s 2014-2015 Principal of the Year.
It is often said that being recognized by one’s peers is the ultimate honor. Sequoia High School Principal Kelly Shepherd said she is surprised and humbled by, “those I admire so much and from whom I have learned so much suggesting me for this honor.”
For the last four years, Shepherd has led programs at Sequoia High School. Sequoia hosts the district’s alternative high school program and its online high school program.
Sequoia High School is also the site for Port Gardner Parent Partnership. At Port Gardner, families of kindergarten through high school students choose to mix the best of public school programs with their own home school experiences.
In their letters of nomination, teachers, fellow Everett Public Schools principals and administrators and community leaders spoke of Shepherd’s educational leadership, community-commitment and community connections, her focus on what’s best for students and her example as a continuous learner and collaborator.
Jo Anne Buiteweg, once a staff member at Sequoia and now Director of the Learning Management System for the district, wrote in her nomination letter of Shepherd, “She contributes the most valuable resource she has, her time and creative mind.”
Online High School teacher Kathy Seltzer noted, “Ms. Shepherd employs the synergy of a team to get results. She has collaborative working relationships with teachers and other staff to improve the educational program and student achievement.”
Ted Wenta, Everett Public Schools Director and Vice President of Operations for the YMCA of Snohomish County, emphasized, “In Kelly, our city and our schools benefit from a partner, a collaborator and a catalyst for achieving not only student success but also community success.”
Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Dr. Joyce Stewart summed up other’s thoughts, “Kelly’s focus on teaching and learning, her ability to collaborate across many diverse groups, and her unwavering belief in the ability of all students to succeed are all characteristics of a distinguished leader.”
Each year, the Association of Washington School Principals launches its Principal of the Year selection process with regional nominations based upon the state’s athletic leagues.
The top principals from each region then move into contention for consideration at the state level; state level principals then move on for consideration as a National Principal of the Year.
The process, which begins each fall, concludes in the spring with an elementary, middle and high school principal honored as the nation’s best.