2 Pinal principals semifinalists for exemplary award

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

Two principals in Pinal County have been named semifinalists for the Rodel Foundation’s Exemplary Principal award.

Jennifer McClintic is principal of Ironwood Elementary School in the Casa Grande Elementary School District. Joanne Pike is principal of Copper Basin K-8 School in the Florence Unified School District.

The award, which recognizes outstanding school leadership, is given to only a handful of principals in Arizona each year.

McClintic began as a classroom teacher in Wyoming in 2000, taught in Tucson from 2002 to 2004, moved to Casa Grande in 2005 and became a reading interventionist at Mesquite Elementary School. She was chosen to be a teacher on assignment, or assistant principal, at Saguaro Elementary School in 2009. Less than a year later she was honored as a Rodel Aspiring Principal and hired as principal of Ironwood.

McClintic said the best part of being a principal is the opportunity to influence the lives of 500 students and “work with amazing staff and parents in the community — just having that opportunity to have all of these people that I can influence to do great things in life.”

Pike started teaching junior high math in Apache Junction in 1993 and taught for seven years before becoming an assistant principal. She has been a principal in the Florence Unified School District for eight years.

Pike said the best part of being a principal is working with kids and staff, “and helping them grow and become leaders and better professionals and helping them meet the needs of the kids.”

Sometimes the hard part is finding out what kids need academically, socially and at home, she said, and “boiling that down to what each individual child needs to succeed,” then finding the resources to meet the challenge.

“That’s always the tough part, but that’s also the most rewarding part, too.”

FUSD Superintendent Amy Fuller was quoted as saying, “Joanne Pike is an incredible principal and an amazing person. She is our lead principal and someone whom I personally admire for her hard work and dedication to the success of all students in the Florence Unified School District. Being named a Rodel semifinalist is an incredible honor and she should be commended for this great nomination.”

CGESD Superintendent Frank Davidson told the Governing Board that Rodel looks for principals who have high expectations for staff and students, who focus on effective teaching and student management, inspire their staff and develop high-achieving, safe, orderly, welcoming schools.

“Principals who have made measurable differences in the lives of students, staff and local communities are named Rodel exemplary principals,” he said.

“That sounds just like you,” board President Judee Jackson told McClintic.

“It sounds like your school. We are so proud of you.”

Exemplary principals are to be announced in January.

“We’re very proud that Mrs. McClintic has been made a semifinalist,” Davidson said, “but we’re convinced she’s not finished yet, that she will be recognized as an honoree in January.”

The Rodel Foundation has named 50 exemplary principals since 2008. CGESD has had four: Jeff Lavender in 2010, Joanne Kramer in 2011, Jennifer Murrieta in 2012 and Debbie John in 2014.