CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two West Virginia school principals will head to Washington, D.C. this fall to be recognized in a national ceremony.
Kanawha City Elementary School Principal Cathi Bradley was named West Virginia’s Elementary Principal of the Year on Monday. Last week, Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School Principal Renee Warner received the title of West Virginia’s Middle School Principal of the Year.
Kanawha City Elementary School Principal Cathi Bradley is named WV Elementary Principal of the Year.
— Carrie Hodousek (@CarrieHodousek) May 7, 2018
The awards were presented by the West Virginia Association of Elementary & Middle School Principals.
Bradley and Warner will join other school principals from across the country during a ceremony October 11-12.
“It’s a good chance for us to share all the great things that are going on in this state,” said Mickey Blackwell, executive director of WVAEMSP.
This is the first year the association chose two school principals to represent West Virginia.
“We have so many great administrators in this state,” he said. “We lobbied and we said we have too many great principals. We want more than one and this year they allowed us to have two.”
Bradley received the award during a surprise assembly at the school Monday afternoon. A room full of students cheered for her as she walked through the door.
Needless to say, Bradley was blown away. She credited the work of her staff before and after the statewide teacher and school service worker strike earlier this year.
“Through the strike, it was a bonding experience for the teachers and our staff. It really is because of strong teachers and your kids working so hard. Otherwise, how is a principal recognized? It’s only through the work that their teachers and students do,” Bradley said.
Warner has served as BUMS principal for 12 years. This is her 29th year in education.
Bradley has been an administrator with Kanawha County Schools for 14 years and has served as the Kanawha City Elementary principal for the last four years. She said she believes a great leader knows its followers.
“I form bonds with everyone,” she said. “I find the things I have in common with all my staff. That’s how I make those connections. I do the same with all my kids. I greet them every morning. I hug everyone that comes in and tell them I’m glad that they’re here. When you make those connections with them, they’ll do anything for you.”
Seeing her students is the best part of her job.
“There’s a lot of jobs out there in education that you can have. I’ve always said I can never see myself not in a school because the best thing about getting up and going to work every day are the kids,” Bradley said.
The National Distinguished Principals program was established in 1984 to recognize elementary and middle level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and staffs in their learning communities, according to the WVAEMSP’s website.