Kari Lopez Nominated for National Award

Kari Lopez nominated for NASSP National Principal of the Year
Posted on 06/12/2020
Kari LopezIn February the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) named Kari Lopez, principal of Woodbury Middle School, Minnesota Middle Level Principal of the Year. They recently selected Lopez as the Minnesota representative at the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), which makes her a nominee for the NASSP National Principal of the Year. 

“I am very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing staff both at Woodbury Middle School and across District 833,” Lopez said. “They push me as a leader every day to be the best I can be for all students. I am really humbled by this recognition because it represents the work of so many great people who are really focused on the success of our students.”

Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools, and the Department of Defense Education Activity select one middle level or high school principal to represent their state. Three finalists are named as contenders for the National Principal of the Year award. The national honoree will be announced in October, in coordination with National Principals Month. Lopez is also eligible to attend the NASSP Principals Institute in Washington, D.C. in late September. The Institute not only salutes the principalship but also provides a forum for honorees to advocate for education and share best practices and expertise.

Lopez has been a school administrator for 21 years and principal of Woodbury Middle School for the past 10 years. 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.

Lopez is also passionate about helping shape future leaders. She has been an adjunct professor for the K-12 Principal Licensure Program at the University of St. Mary’s, where she teaches Shaping an Inclusive School Culture. She is also a staff developer for AVID, where she teaches implementation to middle and high school leaders around the country at the Summer Institute.

“Kari is very deserving of this honor and we are so proud to have her represent South Washington County Schools at the national level,” said Keith Jacobus, Superintendent. “She is the type of leader who empowers students, staff and parents to have a voice."