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DoD Schools Administrator Selected as 2007 Middle School Principal of the Year

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2006 – An administrator in a Defense Department school in Germany has been selected as the 2007 National Principal of the Year for Middle School.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company announced the selection of Dr. Ellen Minette, of Heidelberg Middle School, in an assembly at the school Sept. 11.

Gen. David McKiernan, commander of U.S. Army Europe, and Joseph Militello, NASSP board president, surprised Minette with the announcement in front of several hundred of her students.

Minette’s selection represents the first time a Department of Defense Education Activity principal has been chosen as the national winner. She will be honored during an awards banquet Oct. 14 in Washington, D.C.

“Educating our children, as in any location around the world where soldiers serve, is important,” McKiernan said during the assembly. “Parents in Europe should feel very good knowing that the (Department of Defense Dependents Schools) system has people like Ellen Minette serving them.”

The Principal of the Year Program, which began in 1993, is sponsored by NASSP and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company as a means to recognize outstanding middle and high school principals. This program honors secondary school principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students and for their exemplary contributions to the profession.

One middle/high school-level principal is selected from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity. From these state winners, six finalists are selected (three middle level, three high school) to become eligible for the National Principal of the Year award.

MetLife and NASSP will present each state winner with an award during their annual Principal’s Institute and Awards Banquet held in Washington, D.C. The National Principals of the Year (one middle school, one high school) each will receive  $5,000 grants, and the four finalists will be awarded $1,500 grants.

“In a personalized school, more rigor can be expected of students,” Minette said. “To add such rigor, I challenge teachers to instill in each student a belief in one of my favorite mantras, ‘What you are learning is important; you can do it; and I will never give up on you.’ When children feel that the teacher and the school care about their learning, they respond.”

Prior to becoming principal at Heidelberg High School, Minette served as assistant principal at Manheim Elementary and Middle Schools, at Heidelberg and Ludwigsburg Middle Schools, and at Patch High School in the DoDDS-Europe Bavaria District. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University in Long Beach, a Master of Education degree from Boston University, and Master and Doctorate degrees in Education from Columbia University Teachers College.

“Minette is an inspiration to all of us,” Dr. Joseph Tafoya, DoD schools director, said. “Colleagues, students, and parents in military communities worldwide share in the joy and pride she must be feeling. She is an outstanding professional in the field of education and embodies the (DoD Education Activity) mission to provide in military communities worldwide exemplary educational programs that inspire and prepare all students for success in a global environment.”

(From a Department of Defense Education Activity news release. U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs contributed to this report.)

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Department of Defense Education Activity
U.S. Army Europe

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