LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News Release) — Described as an innovative thinker in education, Kari E. Kinne, assistant principal at Leverett Elementary School in the Fayetteville School District, has been chosen as the 2020 Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year by the Arkansas Association of Elementary School Principals (AAESP). Dr. Richard Abernathy, AAEA Executive Director, presented Kinne with the award at her school on December 10.
Kinne is now eligible for the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ (NAESP) National Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year award. This program promotes educational excellence for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade schooling and calls attention to the fundamental importance of the assistant principal. NAESP will share the winner’s successes and best practices in a practical document for other principals to utilize.
According to Kinne, leadership should be a group activity. “As leaders, we cannot seek to achieve everything ourselves; we achieve results through shared leadership,” said Kinne. “Because of this, I believe that growing teacher leaders is another example of a leadership best practice.”
Chris Sputo, principal at Leverett Elementary, praised Kinne for taking on lofty goals. “Leading an instructional team on a campus undergoing significant, organizational change, and cultural change can be a daunting task,” Sputo said.
Kinne believes that getting down on a personal level with her students is key to a successful school. “My office is a very open and inviting space where students can come by on a regular basis to ask me questions, ask me how my day is going, deescalate, or just come in to give me a hug,” she said. “My office is stocked with Kinetic Sand, Legos, books on all reading levels, and many types of sensory items.”
Dr. Nandra Campbell, Director of Professional Learning for the Fayetteville School District sees Kinne as an inspiration for colleagues as well. “Kari is one of the most knowledgeable and innovative thinkers that I know, and I continue to learn so much from her,” she said.