Two Yuma principals named state Rodel award finalists

Two Yuma principals that were previously selected as semifinalists in the statewide 2012 Rodel Exemplary Principal Initiative have now been named finalists.

Kofa High School Principal Gina Thompson and Alice Byrne Elementary School Principal Juli Peach were two of 17 principals selected by the Rodel Foundation of Arizona after an in-depth interview process. After the candidates were nominated by their district superintendent, researchers then reviewed the nominations, combed through school data, visited the campuses and interviewed the candidates as well as their teachers and staff.

“These finalists from high-need schools have been selected for their demonstrated ability to inspire their staffs to contribute to school-wide success and the development of a campus that is high achieving, safe, orderly and welcoming,” stated the foundation.

Thompson said that she was very honored to be named a finalist and said that she couldn’t have done it without her teachers, support faculty and students.

“The Yuma Union High School District and Kofa High School has always provided amazing opportunity that allowed me to develop professionally. I feel that I represent our entire district and all that has been invested in me by our district and community as a finalist,” she said.

“Again, the recognition at the state level is something that makes me feel extremely proud as I look back at all of the work that we have done as a team at Kofa High School… The recognition should be a source of pride throughout our district and entire community including partner schools, parents, students, board members, business community. It takes support and determination at all levels to do what is necessary and continue to improve.”

Peach said that she was also very honored to be named a finalist and noted that this recognition helps to reaffirm the students and staff that they are doing something right.

“Being recognized is a reward for all of the hard work and dedication that my teachers and staff put forth every day. They deserve any accolades that come their way and I am so excited for them to be part of this process,” she said.

“You can lead, but if you don’t have anyone following you there’s no point. Teachers can teach and they can be highly effective teachers but somehow they have to motivate all those kids to want to learn. I just can’t say enough about my teachers and students.”

From the list of 17 finalists, 10 in Maricopa county, three in Pima County, two in Pinal County and two in Yuma County, a total of 10 winners will be named Rodel Exemplary Principals on Jan 22.

“Rodel Exemplary Principals serve as excellent role models and will mentor three aspiring principals for the next two years,” said Jim Rice, Rodel Foundation of Arizona Program administrator. “These future principals will have the opportunity to learn from highly skilled principals who have demonstrated extraordinary success educating students.”

Visit www.rodelfoundationaz.org for more information about the initiative.