Eastern alumna Gina Naccarato-Keele '01, '96, MEd, BA education-reading, has been named the 2018 Elementary School Principal of the Year for the state of Washington. The award is given by the Association of Washington School Principals, and Naccarato-Keele is just the second person from Eastern Washington to win the award at the elementary level.
She is the principal at Linwood Elementary in the Spokane Public School District. She and 61 other principals from around the nation were honored at a banquet in Washington, D.C., in October.
Naccarato-Keele was surprised with the announcement that she had been selected for the honor at an all-school assembly on March 23, 2018, which just happened to be her birthday!
In her role as the state's Elementary Principal of the Year, she has toured the state and has recently met with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
She says that there's no secret formula for being a successful principal - you advocate for kids and what they need, build relationships and hire really well.
Currently operating out of a 1952-era school, she's excited that the voters approved a new building, currently under construction and scheduled to open in spring 2019. But more exciting is what goes on inside the building. In her 11 years as principal, Naccarato-Keele has implemented a character-building program to boost emotional and social skills. One of her programs, a weekly lunch with students that have reached their goal in the classroom, is called Principal Table and the students have the honor of joining their beloved principal for lunch.
Check out her five tips for student support and interventions.