ELKHART — Three local educators were recently recognized by the Indiana Association of School Principals.
David Maugel, principal of NorthWood High School; Alan Thompson, principal of Woodview Elementary School; and Sheryll Harper, Elkhart resident and principal of Discovery Middle School in Granger, were selected by their peers as principals of the year in Indiana’s District 2, which includes Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, La Porte, Marshall, Pulaski, St. Joseph and Starke counties, according to a press release.
Maugel, Thompson and Harper are also in the running to be named Indiana’s “Principal of the Year” at the elementary, middle school and high school levels. These awards will be decided on Nov. 24.
Maugel, who has been the principal of NorthWood High School for eight years, said Monday that he believes he was nominated because of his commitment to help teachers collaborate more effectively. He did this by forming professional learning opportunities for teachers, stakeholders and school departments.
“One thing that has changed is that the demands on educators are so different,” Maugel said Monday. “Years ago, there were always funds developed ... so you could get a group of teachers to some sort of professional development outside your walls. Now you have to rely on your colleagues, and on websites.”
He said that he believes teachers can and should learn from each other by taking an honest look at data and student performance.
“One of the best things I have ever accomplished with my teaching and coaching is working with a team of adults who were willing to have discussion and debate,” Maugel said. “I’m a big believer in that.”
Thompson said his nomination is likely a reflection on the hard work of the students and staff at Woodview Elementary.
“It goes back to the progress and improvement (of teachers and students), specifically in ISTEP scores,” Thompson said on Monday.
He added that Woodview ISTEP scores have consistently improved over the last decade. He believes that professional development of teachers has contributed to the better scores.
Thompson has been the principal of Woodview for 13 years.
Harper, who has been the principal of Discovery for 17 years, said improved ISTEP scores and a positive behavior plan have been a focus for her and her staff.
“My staff is very child-centered,” Harper said on Monday. “They really know their children and they are attentive to the type of learning environment they create.”
Harper added that teachers have learned over time to collaborate more effectively and to monitor students’ achievement.
“You have to keep creating levels of challenge for your students,” she said. “You can’t just teach a lesson. If you just teach the lesson in the book like we used to, you definitely aren’t reaching all the students in the classroom.”