What makes a successful principal?
“I think the key is having effective communication with all aspects of the school community, supporting staff programs, providing professional development, encouraging students to reach their maximum potential, and being a good listener,” said Kathleen Carney, Herkimer Elementary School principal.
And Carney would know, having been named one the 2013 National Distinguished Principals by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
“I’m feeling very excited,” she said. “You’re only as strong as your staff, students and community. I’m very thankful for where I work and the students that I have the privilege of seeing on a daily basis and trying to impact their life in a positive way.”
Carney is one of 61 elementary and middle school principals nationally to win the award, which will be presented this weekend at a two-day program and ceremony in Washington, D.C.
She was nominated and selected by her fellow principals statewide through a search process conducted by the School Administrators Association of New York State.
Principals must be active in schools where there are programs designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students and where there are firmly established community ties with parents.
“Only a principal can move a school from good to great, simultaneously championing children and uplifting the communities they serve,” said Gail Connelly, National Association of Elementary School Principals executive director. “We congratulate this class of (National Distinguished Principals) for their steadfast dedication to educating our nation’s children to their fullest potential.”
Carney, 42, of Herkimer, is married with three children ages 4, 7 and 12, and has been working in the district for 21 years. She has been the elementary school principal for 13 years.
“I really have a vested interest in our school,” Carney said.
At the awards ceremony she will be presenting everyone with Herkimer Diamonds, which were donated, to represent her district.
“I always refer to my students as Herkimer Diamonds,” Carney said. “Some may shine brightly and some may need a little extra to help them shine, but they’re all diamonds in my eyes and they all have the potential to move on and do great things.”