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Minnesota Middle Level Principal of the Year

Kari Lopez Honored as Minnesota Middle Level Principal of the Year
Posted on 02/21/2020
Kari LopezThe Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) named Kari Lopez, principal of Woodbury Middle School, Minnesota Middle Level Principal of the Year. Lopez has been a school administrator for 21 years and principal of Woodbury Middle School for the past 10 years.

Last May, Lopez was named the MASSP Middle Level Principal of the Year in the Capital Division. Now, as the statewide middle level winner, Lopez is eligible to be selected to represent Minnesota in the National Principal of the Year contest, sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

While leading Woodbury Middle School, school culture, inclusion and staff development have been a point of emphasis for Lopez. By encouraging her staff to focus on connecting with students and developing meaningful relationships, they have seen a 60 percent decrease in discipline referrals in the past three years. Recent Woodbury Middle School graduates summed up the school culture best, saying “the opportunities at our school were countless because each student believed their voice mattered and everyone had an opportunity to show leadership in their own way.”

Lopez has implemented several innovative and research-based programs that encourage inclusion and growth, including the “Not At Our School” campaign, a college and career readiness course and CARS (Content Area Reading Strategies). Staff members shared that Lopez has been instrumental in creating and leading impactful programs and training, allowing them to grow in engaging all students.

“Kari is an outstanding leader and I am proud to have her as a part of South Washington County Schools,” said Keith Jacobus, superintendent. “She empowers staff and students to have a voice, build meaningful connections and always continue learning.”