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2005 NDP Award Winner
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News Release

Date March 2, 2005

For further information contact:     
Jana Caldwell
Director of Communications 
303.762.8762 X103;
303.762.8697 (fax)

Estes Park Leader Named 2005 Colorado National Distinguished Principal


The Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) announces the selection of Craig Belshe, principal of Estes Park Intermediate School, as the 2005 Colorado National Distinguished Principal of the Year.

Belshe was recognized for his numerous accomplishments as a principal. Under his leadership, student achievement has continued to increase. Record numbers of students earned high scores on the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests. In 2004, 88 percent of the school’s third grade students were proficient or advanced in reading.

Also he has led efforts to help struggling students. He worked with staff to reduce the numbers of students on individual learning plans through individual tutoring and reading assistance.

In support of his nomination, teacher Kimberly Uilk-Emory praised Belshe’s collaborative leadership style. Uilk-Emory said,  “Perhaps Mr. Belshe’s greatest strength is the way that he models leadership in our school. We work together as a team with a shared vision.” She emphasized, “This is a school where teachers reach maximum productivity.”

Belshe is in his 22nd year as a principal and fifth year at Estes Park Intermediate School. Prior to his current assignment, he was a teacher or principal at the Estes Park Middle School and Estes Park High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado and a master’s degree in education from Colorado State University.


Belshe was selected by his peers in the Colorado Association of Elementary School Principals (CAESP), a department of CASE and affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). The National Distinguished Principal program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, NAESP, and VALIC.

 John Karbula, president of CAESP, praised Belshe’s record as a leader  “Craig is an outstanding principal who positively impacts students, staff, parents, and the community. His selection as Colorado's National Distinguished Principal is testimony to his professionalism and to his effectiveness as a school leader,” said Karbula.

This award recognizes successful elementary or middle level principals who have provided outstanding leadership. Selection criteria include evidence of respect from the school community; active community involvement; strong educational leadership; and evidence of maintaining an orderly, purposeful learning environment.

CASE and CAESP will present Belshe with his award at a school district event this spring. He and other CASE award winners also will be recognized at the annual CASE convention this summer in Breckenridge.

As Colorado’s National Distinguished Principal, Belshe will be honored, along with other state winners, in Washington, D.C. next fall.

Established in 1969, the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) is an organization of more than 2,000 school administrators committed to improving student achievement through promoting and building quality education leadership in all Colorado schools.

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