Rodel Exemplary Principal Logo

The Rodel Foundation of Arizona has named 15 finalists for the 2016 Rodel Exemplary Principal Award. These finalists from schools in high-need communities have been selected for their demonstrated ability to inspire their staff to contribute to school-wide success and the development of a campus that is high achieving, safe, orderly and welcoming.





Frank Armenta

Cholla High Magnet School

Tucson Unified


Shannon Bonnette

Richard E. Miller School

Washington Elementary


Karie Burns

Surprise Elementary

Dysart Unified

El Mirage

Frank Garcia

John Q. Thomas Elementary

Flagstaff Unified


Lillian Linn

Avondale Middle School

Avondale Elementary


Dr. Bennett MacKinney

Echo Mountain Intermediate

Paradise Valley Unified


Kate McDonald

South Mountain High

Phoenix Union High School


Chad Miller

Homer Davis Elementary

Flowing Wells Unified


Kathryn Mullery

Connolly Middle School

Tempe Elementary


Dr. Gregory Reid

Entz Elementary

Mesa Public Schools


Dr. Melissa Rivers

South Ridge High School

The Leona Group, LLC


Dr. Daniel Schulter

Dodge Traditional Magnet School

Tucson Unified


Lori Sheffield

Castle Dome Middle School

Yuma Elementary


Dr. Michele Wilson

Westview High School

Tolleson Union High School


Stacie Zanzucchi

Coconino High School

Flagstaff Unified



The finalists have been through a rigorous process to reach this point. Each was nominated by his or her district superintendent. Researchers then reviewed the nominees, examined school data, visited campuses, interviewed the candidates, and met with teachers and staff. From these finalists, the 2016 Rodel Exemplary Principal cohort will be announced in early January 2016 through media partnerships, on Rodel’s social media pages and at

“A great principal builds and supports a school culture where students, staff, teachers and community members can work together to provide the best education and opportunities for all students,” said Jackie Norton, Rodel President & CEO. “We’re proud to recognize the leadership qualities exhibited by these outstanding principals, and look forward to working with them as they mentor and inspire the school leaders of tomorrow.”

“Rodel Exemplary Principals represent some of the best school leaders that Arizona has to offer,” said Howard Paley, Rodel Chief Operating Officer. “Our Principal Initiative is an opportunity to recognize these leaders. But more importantly we want these leaders to mentor aspiring leaders and provide an exemplary network of school leaders to connect across our great state.”

Rodel, in partnership with Social Venture Partners of Arizona, developed the Rodel Exemplary Principal Initiative to recognize outstanding school principals and populate a pipeline of highly skilled school leaders for Arizona’s high-need schools. Each cohort of Exemplary Principals provides professional development, field experience, and ongoing mentorship to a class of Rodel Aspiring Principals for two years. After learning from the best, these Aspiring Principals are better prepared to lead their own high-need schools.


The Rodel Foundation of Arizona’s vision is for Arizona to have one of the best pre-kindergarten through grade 12 educational systems in the country by 2020. For more information on the Foundation’s mission and initiatives, contact Rodel at 480-367-2920 or visit