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Jenks Gazette

Jenks Principal Receives National Recognition

Michelle Sumner

On Oct. 7, Jenks West Intermediate principal Michelle Sumner was honored as a 2016 National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) at an awards banquet at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., which was part of a two-day program. Sumner is among 58 elementary and middle school principals from across the nation and abroad who received the recognition.

Established in 1984, the National Distinguished Principals program recognizes public and private school principals who make superior contributions to their schools and communities. The principals also had the opportunity to share best practices during the program. The 58 principal honorees were selected by NAESP state affiliates and by committees representing private and overseas schools.

It was particularly fitting to acknowledge the work of principals in October because it is National Principals Month, which was established to recognize and honor the contributions of school principals and assistant principals toward the success of the nation’s students and to encourage awareness of their significance.

“Principals are uniquely positioned to impact the academic, social and emotional success of all students,” says NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly. “These exceptional leaders have proven their commitment to providing a high-quality, well-rounded education in their schools. The National Distinguished Principals program recognizes these well-deserving principals for their extraordinary passion, dedication, and contribution to their schools, their students, and their communities.”
Sumner has provided consistent leadership at Jenks West Intermediate for 15 years.

She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.S. in Applied Behavior Studies/Gifted & Talented both from Oklahoma State University and a degree in Elementary Administration from Northeastern State University.

“From her days as a classroom teacher to her current position as site principal, Michelle has earned a reputation for being a courageous leader with a relentless commitment to best practice instruction,” says Jenks Superintendent Stacey Butterfield.

Sumner is known for developing personal and professional relationships that foster trust and dependability by working alongside teachers, selling new ideas with enthusiasm, and providing support through modeling, coaching, collaboration sessions, book studies, weekly newsletters, and professional development.

Sumner sees Jenks as a school of big ideas, centering learning and achievement in a culture in which students think and act as historians, mathematicians, scientists, and authors. She also values learning outside of the classroom, as seen in Jenks Wild, a three-day learning retreat for sixth graders and an ambassador program that teaches leadership skills.

For a full list of 2016 winners, visit

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) was established in 1921 and leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle school principals in the United States and internationally.

NAESP supports principals as the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning through policy and professional development, advocacy, programs, and resources for effective instructional leadership. NAESP advances the profession on behalf of all principals, providing specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include pre-K-3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and capacity-building educator evaluation.

Updated 10-26-2016

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