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Lesher Middle School Principal named National Secondary School Principal of the Year

Tuesday, October 18, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Melissa Gibson

Director of Membership and Strategic Partners, CASE

mgibson@co-case.org or 303.762.8762



Tom Dodd, 2017 National Secondary School Principal of the Year


Lesher Middle School Principal Tom Dodd named 2017 National Secondary School Principal of the Year


Englewood, October 18, 2016 – On Monday, October 17, 2016, the National Association of Secondary School Prinicipals (NASSP) selected Dr. Thomas Dodd, principal of Lesher Middle School, an International Baccalaureate World School in the Poudre School District, as the 2017 National Secondary School Principal of the Year. Students, staff and special dignitaries gathered to celebrate and recognize Dodd for this prestigious achievement. 


"Leadership is an opportunity, not a position," Dodd said upon receiving this honor, thanking the teachers, staff, and the students of Lesher Middle School for their hard work and dedication. "This award is for you, too" he said.


Dodd has served as a school administrator for over 16 years, and has spent 11 of those years serving as the principal of Lesher Middle School.

Lesher Middle School students give Principal Tom Dodd a standing ovation during the Oct. 17 surprise award ceremony. 


Dodd actively cultivates a positive, engaged leadership style, as was evidenced during the congratulatory remarks from Lesher student Shane Ball and current Lesher parent Kelsey Nosler. They highlighted the commitment of Dodd, noting his support and encouragement for all aspects of Lesher Middle School. Dodd encourages learning by visiting classrooms; promotes cocurricular activities and student engagement by cheering on his students at everything from sporting events to spelling bees; and fosters an open and communicative environment for staff to bring forward new ideas that support inspired teaching and learning. 


NASSP President Jayne Ellspermann congratulates 2017 National Secondary School Principal of the Year Tom Dodd. 

The ceremony also included remarks from Dr. Sandra Smyser, Superintendent of Poudre School District; Jayne Ellspermann, President of the National Association of Secondary School Principals; Dr. Bruce Messinger, Superintendent of Boulder Valley School District and Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) President-elect; Carrie Yantzer, Principal of Nederland Middle/Senior High School and President of the Colorado Association of Secondary School Principals (CASSP); Cathy Kipp, President Poudre School District Board of Education; Darin Atteberry, City Manager for Fort Collins; and even a call-in from US Secretary of Education Dr. John B. King, Jr. 



King commended Dodd and the school community on their commitment to excellence through equity, stating that Dodd was truly a model principal among his more than 100,000 colleagues.


Lesher Middle School is the most diverse secondary school in Poudre School District. Of 768 students currently enrolled, 45 percent are eligible for free/reduced-price meals and 25 percent are classified as ELL or limited-English proficiency students. Under Dodd's leadership, Lesher has experienced a number of successes, including increased enrollment from 500 to 770 students with the corresponding need for a waitlist for eight consecutive years, and a graduation rate of over 99 percent.  


The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the national affiliate of CASSP and CASE, selected Dodd based on a rigorous selection process. After being named the 2016 Colorado Secondary Principal of the Year for Colorado by CASSP and CASE, Dodd represented Colorado alongside other state-winners in the selection process for National Principal of the Year. 


This award recognizes outstanding middle level and high school principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession. Selection criteria include personal excellence, collaborative leadership, curriculum, instruction, assessment and personalization of learning opportunities for students. The announcement of this award comes during National Principals Month as a reminder to #ThankAPrincipal and celebrate principal-leadership throughout the nation.   


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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