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Press Release – July 9, 2012
Smokey Road Principal Laurie Barron among six educators competing for National Principal of the Year Award
Laurie Barron, principal of Smokey Road Middle School, has been named a finalist in the 2013 MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program for her significant contributions to student achievement.
Barron is one of six finalists from across the country for the national honor, which will be officially announced this September.
“This honor is a testament to the hard work of Smokey Road Middle School does every day, and is a testament to what can happen when adults believe in students and our students believe in themselves,” said Barron. “I am thrilled, but this honor is ultimately a reflection of the great things happening and Smokey Road, and the contributions of the teachers and staff, and our students, parents and business partners.”
“We are very proud of Dr. Barron and Smokey Road Middle School for receiving this honor,” said Dr. Steve Barker, Superintendent of the Coweta County School System. “As I said when Dr. Barron was named state Middle School Principal of the Year, the credit for this honor goes to her, certainly, but also to the strong, high-quality faculty and staff at Smokey Road.”
Barron was named the Georgia Middle School Principal of the Year by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GASSP) in February of 2012. Also at that time, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) began its search for the 2013 national Principal of the Year from among the state principals of the year selected by the state associations.
From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selected three middle level and three high school finalists. The national middle level and high school winners will be named in September and recognized in Washington, DC, during the Principals Institute for State Principals of the Year, September 19-22, 2012.
The finalists are:
- Jimmy Casas, Bettendorf High School, Bettendorf, IA
- Trevor Greene, Toppenish High School, Toppenish, WA
- David Ryan, Nashua High School North, Nashua, NH
- Laurie Barron, Smokey Road Middle School, Newnan, GA
- Judy Beard, Loris Middle School, Loris, SC
- Shana Perry, Del Crest Middle School, Del City, OK.
"NASSP proudly showcases this year’s finalists as experts in our nation’s schools," said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. "It is increasingly important that we share success stories of principals’ effective practices. Each finalist offers a strong example of leadership in education that reflects the NASSP Breaking Ranks Framework by emphasizing personalization; collaboration; and curriculum, instruction, and assessment."
MetLife and NASSP said their organizations are strongly committed to supporting the visions of exemplary school leaders. The finalists for national honors are recognized for their accomplishments as high-achieving principals who are making a daily investment in our nation's future.
Dr. Laurie Barron has served as the Principal of Smokey Road Middle school since 2004. A 17-year educator, Barron taught English at Newnan High School for six years before becoming an Assistant Principal at Arnall Middle School and moving to the principalship at Smokey Road. Barron earned her B.A. from the University of Georgia, her Masters in Administration and Supervision from the State University of West Georgia, and her Specialist and Doctorate degrees in Educational Leadership from the University of Sarasota.
Barron currently serves on the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education Partnership Council and is an active member of the Georgia Association of Middle School Principals and the Georgia and National Association of Secondary School Principals, and has recently served on the Governor’s Education Advisory Board for Principals. She has also received the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders Outstanding Middle Level Educator Award and the Georgia Association of Middle School Principals Exemplary Leadership Award. Barron is also a National Board Certified teacher and was Newnan High School Teacher of the Year in 1999 and NHS STAR Teacher 2000 and 2001. Barron lives in Newnan with her husband Daniel and their three daughters.
Smokey Road Middle School is a state of Georgia Title I Distinguished School and a Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals Breakout Middle School. The school has made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for seven consecutive years.
NASSP cited Smokey Road’s student achievement as a reason for her nomination to national honors:
“When Barron became the principal of Smokey Road eight years ago, the school of nearly 800 students was plagued by discipline problems, high absenteeism, and low student achievement,” said the NASSP in its announcement of Barron’s nomination. “By building trusting relationships and promoting shared leadership, however, Barron was able to restore confidence among students, teachers, and community members.”
“Under Barron’s leadership, stakeholder input is highly valued; teachers receive meaningful professional development and leadership opportunities; and most importantly, students benefit from constant recognition, personal relationships with adults in the building, and customized instruction based on data outcomes.”
“Dr. Laurie Barron motivates her students and teachers daily and she…is always moving throughout the hallways each morning encouraging students, listening to concerns, and monitoring everything that takes place,” said Marc Guy, Coweta County School System’s Director of Student Services.
“Today, Smokey Road is regularly recognized for its achievements. The diverse middle school, which made AYP for the last six years, was named a 2011 MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School for being high-achieving while serving a large number of students in poverty. It has also received distinction as a Georgia Title I Distinguished School for the past four years.”
“Laurie loves all her students and goes the extra mile to reach them,” Guy added.
Barron and the other five finalists will each receive a $1,500 grant, and the two national award winners—one high school and one middle level—will receive additional grants of $3,500.
The grants will be used to improve learning at the school (e.g., a special school project and/or professional development opportunities).
MetLife and NASSP are strongly committed to supporting the visions of exemplary school leaders. For more information about the MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program, please visit www.nassp.org/POY.
"For 20 years, MetLife has partnered with NASSP to sponsor the MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program—a program that honors outstanding school leadership," said Derrick Kelson, vice president of MetLife. "The selection of these finalists continues the tradition of recognizing impressive school leaders who go above and beyond, preparing students for a fulfilling life and career."
NASSP is the leading organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders from across the United States and more than 45 countries around the world. The association provides research-based professional development and resources, networking, and advocacy to build the capacity of middle level and high school leaders to continually improve student performance. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development as well, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils. For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, VA, visit www.nassp.org.
About MetLife Resources
MetLife Resources is a division of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a MetLife company. MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife Inc., a leading global provider of insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. For more information, please visit www.metlife.com/mlr.
Dr. Laurie Barron, principal of Smokey Road Middle School, has been named as one of six finalists for the 2013 MetLife/National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Principal of the Year award.