Principal Lizi Aguilar-Nelson at Richmond Elementary School has been named the Oregon Elementary School Principal of the Year for 2012 by the Oregon Elementary School Principals Association and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators.
Lizi was nominated by a strong group of parent supporters.
“Before, our children did not leave Richmond ready for middle school," the application letter from parents said. "It was our children, caught between two languages but mastering neither, who were failing in middle and high school. Due to the efforts of Lizi and the environment and support that she has brought, today our children are successful in school and enthusiastic about their educational future.”
Lizi has been with Salem-Keizer Public Schools for the past eight years and principal of Richmond for the last five years.
In her short time at Richmond she has helped bring the school from one of the most distressed schools in the Salem-Keizer district to the top Title I school in Salem.
The achievement gap has narrowed and in some cases even reversed. At Richmond, she has expanded the bilingual instruction to grades 2–5 and introduced Literacy Squared methodology. In addition, she has introduced Professional Learning Communities to the staff.
Under Aguilar-Nelson’s leadership parent involvement has increased as well as the parent expectations of the students. She has successfully reached out to all family types and backgrounds in the Richmond community. One of the ways in which she did this was through the implementation of the Safe and Civil Schools program. Through this program a dramatic difference in school culture, expectations and student conduct were noted.
As an Oregon winner, Lizi will be honored at the Annual COSA conference in Seaside in June. She will also attend a special recognition ceremony in Washington D.C. in October.
This award automatically places Aguilar-Nelson in the running for the National Distinguished Principal of the Year Award from the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
About COSA and OASSA
The Confederation of Oregon School Administrators serves and represents more than 2,000 school administrators, managers and executives. COSA was founded in 1974 to give Oregon's education leaders a united voice in helping to shape public policy, advocate for schools and speak on behalf of students.
For more information, visit www.cosa.k12.or.us.