Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

August 26, 2010

Wes Taylor named national principal of the year

VALDOSTA — Lowndes High School Principal Wes Taylor has been nationally recognized for his work in the field of education.

Thursday afternoon, Taylor was surprised by the announcement that he had been selected the 2011 National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Principal of the Year.

The announcement was made at the gymnasium during a presentation to urge the high school students to volunteer in the community.

Student Council President Margaret Hoff easily slid a speech about community volunteering into a special announcement that Taylor had won the national award.

Jana Frieler, NASSP board of directors president, congratulated Taylor. During the interview process earlier this month in Washington, D.C., Frieler said Taylor impressed the judges with his passion for education and his commitment to a collaborative nature within high school education.

Taylor’s pride in sharing the achievements and hard work of the students at LHS was also readily apparent during the interview, Frieler said.

“In education, a person has two families, one at home and one at school,” she said.

A representative from MetLife, co-sponsors of the NASSP Principal of the Year award, said Taylor would receive a $5,000 grant to use for either professional development or school improvement projects.

State Rep. Amy Carter (D-Valdosta), who is also a teacher at Lowndes High School, then introduced Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge).

Ralston asked the students, “If this means he is the best principal in America, does that make this the best high school in America?”

The students responded with a gymnasium-rattling shout of approval.

Brad Bryant, state superintendent of schools, then announced that this was the fourth year in a row that a Georgia high school principal has won this honor.

Taylor took the podium and teasingly reprimanded Lowndes County School System Superintendent Dr. Steve Smith for once again surprising him.

In April, Taylor was surprised with the announcement that he had been named Principal of the Year for Georgia.

“I’m honored, humbled and undeserved as I look around at some of my colleagues here today,”  he said.

Taylor said he has spent 25 years as a principal at four different high schools and that LHS has the best student body.

He went on to say that he was accepting the award on behalf of the 3,022 students enrolled at the high school.

Taylor also said he was accepting the award on behalf of the dedicated teachers, administrators, and staff that work at the high school.

“My job is not the most important job in the building,” Taylor said. “What teachers do within the four walls of a classroom is the most important job in the building.”

The success of the school would not be possible without the support of parents, the community, the board of education, and the central office, he said.

Lastly, Taylor thanked the most important people in the room — his family.

Earlier in the year, Taylor was named the 2011 Principal of the Year by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals.

The state award put him in contention for the national honor. Over the summer, he was named one of three finalists for the national award.

In September, all 50 state winners will travel to the nation’s capital for an awards ceremony.

Last year, Taylor was one of three finalists for the Georgia Principal of the Year award.

The Principal of the Year recognition program is sponsored by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

The Principal of the Year program recognizes principals that excel in educational leadership, resolving complex problems, developing self and others, and community service.

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