Sen. Alexander, Son of a School Principal, Praises Tennessee’s “Principals of the Year”

Posted on September 26, 2012

WASHINGTON—Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) last week met with the 2012 Principals of the Year from Tennessee, Dirk Ash of LaVergne High School in LaVergne and Larry Creasy of Stewarts Creek Middle School in Smyrna, who traveled to Washington to participate in a three-day institute for principals from across the nation. Alexander congratulated Ash and Creasy on their awards, saying “your work has an impact on students, teachers, and your entire community and we all owe you thanks for being so dedicated to excellence at such an important job.”

Alexander told the Rutherford County principals, “A good leader is indispensable to a good school. No one works as hard or has to be faster on his or her feet than a school principal. To be named one of the state’s top principals is one of the highest honors a Tennessean can receive.”

Dirk Ash, who received the same award at the middle level while he was principal of LaVergne Middle School, said of his record at LaVergne High School, “We’ve only just begun, and I only think we will keep improving.”

Larry Creasy credits his success as principal of Stewarts Creek to his prior teaching and administrative experience at Smyrna Middle School and Siegel Middle School, where he taught while Ash was serving as assistant principal. Creasy said of the award: “This award is not a reflection of me. This award is a reflection of what a great faculty and staff I have and the hard work that they put in and the dedication that they give our students every day, and that shows with our students’ performance.”
Ash and Creasy were nominated by the Tennessee Association of Secondary School Principals for their performance at their respective grade levels over the past year. They were honored along with other state winners at the Principal’s Institute and Awards Banquet in Washington, which is sponsored by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals in association with the U.S. Department of Education. The Institute brings together the top educators from around the country to make connections and discuss best practices, and includes a day to allow awardees to meet with their legislators to discuss educational issues and matters of importance for their schools.

During their meeting, Alexander, Ash and Creasy agreed on the importance of consistent communication between those in Washington and educators on the state and local level, as well as the need for Congress to fix No Child Left Behind. Alexander, a former U.S. Secretary of Education and senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced, with other Republican senators, several bills to fix the law and also supported bipartisan legislation that was reported out of the Committee in October. Alexander has said, “It is time to move most decisions about whether teachers and schools are succeeding or failing out of Washington and back to states and communities.”
According to National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Principal of the Year award, begun in 1993, “recognizes outstanding school leaders who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students.”

After meetings concluded on Capitol Hill Thursday, the principals attended the awards ceremony Friday evening where they officially received their awards. Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity selected one middle level and one high school principal to represent their state for during the institute, held from September 19 through September 22.

Alexander’s father, Andrew Alexander, was a principal of Westside Elementary School in Maryville.