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2017 Colorado Assistant Principals for secondary schools named

Monday, November 28, 2016   (0 Comments)
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For more information, contact:
Melissa Gibson

Director of Membership and Strategic Partners, CASE

mgibson@co-case.org or 303.762.8762



Suzanne Owens, 2017 Assistant Principal of the Year for Colorado, named by CASE.

Aurora Public Schools leader named Colorado Assistant Principal of the Year for Secondary Schools 

Englewood, November 28, 2016 – Suzanne Acheson, Assistant Principal of W.C. Hinkley High School in Aurora Public Schools, has been named the 2017 Colorado Assistant Principal of the Year for secondary schools by the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) and the Colorado Association of Secondary School Principals (CASSP). She will represent Colorado in the National Assistant Principal of the Year program.  

Upon being notified that she was selected for this award, Acheson said, “I am honored to be named the Colorado Assistant Principal of the Year, and so proud to represent Hinkley in this process. It’s wonderful to see the efforts and accomplishments of the entire community be recognized in such a positive way.” She continued, “At Hinkley, we live by the motto, ‘To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who are T-Birds, the sky is home.’ And I think this recognition for our school both speaks to our motto and shows our students that they can truly accomplish anything.”  

For the last five years serving as assistant principal of Hinkley High School, Acheson has worked to cultivate a “culture of care,” with inclusion serving as a hallmark of her administrative philosophy. Hinkley is a 92 percent minority-majority school with 65 percent of families speaking languages other than English. Of the 2,081 students enrolled in the school, 85 percent are in the free/reduced-price lunch program. Together with the staff of Hinkley High School, Acheson has served this diverse student body by working to establish impressive IB and pathway programs, reduce failure rates, increase graduation rates, and raise ACT scores and achievement levels across all grades.

“[Suzanne] exemplifies the belief that all students can and must learn at high levels and works with her teams to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring that students are successful,” Hinkley High School principal, Mathew Willis said of Acheson’s accomplishments. He continued, “She believes in equity not just equality and works to ensure the school provides access for all.”

These accomplishments are rooted in Acheson’s actions toward building an environment of expectations and support. Acheson often encourages students to register for advanced honors and International Baccalaureate courses and supports students interested in pursuing technical pathways, including in engineering and biomedical sciences. As a result of this encouragement, last year, the IB program at Hinkley was recognized by the International Baccalaureate of the Americas as one of top-five most inclusive programs across the nation.

“CASE and CASSP are thrilled to recognize Suzanne Acheson for her work as a leader in Colorado education, and for her efforts toward building equity in learning,“ stated CASSP President, Carrie Yantzer. “We are proud and excited to celebrate her and the Hinkley community for their shared accomplishments.”  

To Acheson, an inclusive community and culture of care starts with teachers. As an instructional leader, Acheson observes all teachers and shares effective feedback for their instructional methods based off of what is best for students. She is present in all professional learning teams and has crafted effective professional development sessions to continue building the capacity of teachers and administrators.  

As Sarah Lesbeck, science department chair and teacher at Hinkley High School said, “Suzanne is knowledgeable about so many topics, and is able to coach teachers in whatever their personal professional development goals are. She allows staff a great deal of freedom while maintaining high expectations of evidence of the of the impact of our growth on kids.”  

Acheson was selected for this honor by her peers through a rigorous and competitive process facilitated by CASSP, a department of CASE and affiliate of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The National Assistant Principal of the Year program is sponsored by NASSP.  

The award recognizes outstanding middle level and high school assistant principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession. The selection criteria emphasize collaborative leadership; leadership in curriculum, instruction and assessment; and personalization for student learning.  

CASE and CASSP will formally present Acheson with her award at an upcoming school event. She and other CASE award winners will also be recognized at an award ceremony this spring. As Colorado’s Assistant Principal of the Year for secondary schools, Acheson will be honored, along with other state winners, in Philadelphia this spring.  

The Colorado Association of School Executives (www.co-case.org) is the preeminent professional association for public school administrators in Colorado. The organization’s mission is to empower Colorado education leaders through advocacy, professional learning and networking to deliver on the promise of public education.

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