Two Yuma principals semifinalists for statewide award

Two principals from the Crane Elementary School District were recently named semifinalists in the search for the 2015 Rodel Exemplary Principals.

Mesquite Elementary School principal Connie Jerpseth and Crane Middle School principal Kari Neumann were the only two semifinalists from Yuma to be selected based on their recommendations and student performance data.

Representatives from the Rodel Foundation of Arizona are currently in the process of conducting observations of the principals’ campuses and interviewing them before selecting the finalists in mid-December. The winners will then be announced in early January. The 2015 Rodel Exemplary Principals will be recognized for their exceptional leadership and will have the unique opportunity to help train, mentor and inspire the next generation of aspiring principals in Arizona for the next two years.

Jerpseth is currently in her 24th year as an educator. Her first 10 years were spent as a classroom teacher, all but one in the Crane district. She has spent the last 14 years in administration, first as an assistant principal at Rancho Viejo Elementary School then as a principal at Salida del Sol Elementary School before becoming the principal at Mesquite at the beginning of this current school year.

“It was a nice surprise and it is a great honor to be named a semifinalist for this Rodel Principal award. I work with amazing principals, and we all learn from each other,” she said. “This recognition is due to the success of my students, which happens because of my fabulous teachers who work hard every day to make sure that their students are growing academically.”

Crane Superintendent Bob Klee nominated Jerpseth for the Rodel honor.

“Connie demonstrates leaderships skills that have earned her the respect of colleagues, students, staff, parents and community members. She is dedicated to her students’ educational well-being and academic excellence,” said Klee in his nomination letter.

Neumann spent 11 years as a teacher at Kofa High School before becoming the assistant principal of Centennial Middle School for five years. She then went on to be the principal at H.L. Suverkrup Elementary for another five years before moving to Crane Middle School to be the principal this school year.

“I am honored to be named a semifinalist for the Rodel award. I am proud to represent the teachers and students whose hard work and accomplishments led to the nomination,” she said. “I am thankful to work in a district where the culture and expectations push me to reach my potential. I entered education to serve students and am still driven by the same desire; just now I do it on a larger scale.”

Klee also nominated Neumann for the Rodel honor.

In his nomination letter, he said of Neumann, “Kari is an educational leader committed to creating the very best learning environment possible to ensure that all students have an opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to become responsible citizens. Kari has created a vision of high standards for learning within her school.”

Sarah Womer can be reached at swomer@yumasun.com or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.