Cheryl Stickler, principal of Haines Elementary School, has been named the 2013 National Distinguished Principal from Alaska.
The award is made annually by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the U.S. Department of Education.
Stickler was nominated and selected by her fellow principals through a statewide search process conducted by the Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals, said Erica Kludt-Painter, vice president of the statewide group.
Stickler is passionate in her belief that every child is able to achieve at high levels, said Kludt-Painter.
“This is evident in her commitment to early literacy, academic and behavioral support and enrichment, and maintaining strong connections with families and community members,” she said.
Stickler this week said she was “incredibly surprised, humbled and shocked” to receive the award. “It’s a really humbling experience. I have colleagues all over the state who go to work and do their best every day.”
She said the award was a reflection of work by staff and a commitment from the community. “It’s about our staff and teachers and administration. We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’re getting it done. Our students are getting stronger every day.”
Stickler has served as K-12 principal in Haines since 2006. A graduate of Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Stickler previously worked as principal and head teacher at Klukwan School for seven years.
“At the helm of every successful school is a successful principal,” said Gail Connelly, NAESP’s executive director. “Our National Distinguished Principals program provides us with an opportunity to recognize the outstanding leadership of these principals and their commitment to creating successful learning communities. Because of them, students thrive academically, teachers grow professionally, and communities are strengthened.”
In October, Stickler will travel to Washington, D.C., for two days of activities planned to honor and bring recognition to the elementary and middle-level educators chosen by the state, the District of Columbia, plus private and overseas schools.
“Criteria for selection of the principals, set by NAESP and the U.S. Department of Education, require that the honorees are active principals of schools where programs are designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students and where there are firmly established community ties with parents and local business organizations,” Kludt-Painter said.
Kludt-Painter said Stickler was instrumental in leading the staff through the process of becoming a statewide Title 1 school, which allowed resources to be allocated across all grade levels to support additional reading and math instruction.
Last fall, the elementary school was named a National Distinguished School for significantly closing the achievement gap for struggling students.
Stickler has also helped establish a successful Positive Behavior Intervention Support model, a new discipline program, in the school.