2 CGESD principals semifinalists in Rodel search; 1 named finalist

By SUSAN RANDALL, Casa Grande Dispatch – November 21, 2014

Two principals in the Casa Grande Elementary School District were named semifinalists in the search for the 2014 Rodel Exemplary Principals. Now one, Debbie John, has been named a finalist.

John, of Evergreen Elementary School, and Jennifer McClintic from Ironwood Elementary School were named semifinalists in October.

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Superintendent Frank Davidson said both have a history of leadership that has earned the respect of colleagues, students, staff, parents and community members.

Rodel allows principals working in schools that serve needy populations and have a history of high student achievement to be nominated by their superintendents. Only 22 principals were selected as semifinalists this year.

“School principals have a significant effect on the climate, culture and overall performance of a school,” Davidson said. “Casa Grande is fortunate to have these and other capable individuals leading the community’s schools.”

McClintic said Ironwood is “a wonderful school where kids really enjoy spending their days. All students feel they are valued.”

The Rodel Foundation praised her staff and students “for creating the environment where this caliber of leadership is able to thrive and student learning is the primary focus.” The school’s vision is “United, we are inspiring and empowering for success.”

John said, “I am extremely proud of our students’ hard work and accomplishments, in spite of the obstacles many of them face.”

If she becomes a Rodel Exemplary Principal, John will join three other CGESD principals who have received the honor: Jeff Lavender of Villago Middle School in 2010, Joanne Kramer of McCartney Ranch Elementary School in 2011 and Jennifer Murrieta of Desert Willow Elementary School in 2012. Murrieta is now principal of Casa Grande Middle School.

Rodel Exemplary Principals agree to mentor aspiring principals for at least two years after they receive the award.

John said, “A tip I would give to new principals would be to establish meaningful relationships with students, families and staff. Although cliche, meaningful relationships really do matter. When students and staff know how much you care, they are willing to work hard to achieve school goals.”