Two principals receive national honors
May 16, 2022
Two principals from the same district have been recognized by the national associations for elementary and secondary school principals.
Willow Elementary School Principal Eveline E. Huh, Ed.D., and Whitney High School Principal John K. Briquelet have received honors from the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, respectively. ACSA is a state affiliate of both NAESP and NASSP.
Both principals lead schools within the ABC Unified School District. Superintendent Mary Sieu said the leaders were congratulated for their outstanding work in each of their schools.
“Every district should have Principals of the Year such as Dr. Eveline Huh and John Briquelet,” she said. “I applaud them for their willingness to stand by the district’s side as we move forward.”
NAESP’s National Distinguished Principal program recognizes one outstanding elementary and middle-level principal from each state who ensures that America’s children acquire a sound foundation for lifelong learning and achievement.
Huh was selected for this honor by ACSA’s Elementary Education Council and ACSA NAESP Liaison Scott Borba.
“Eveline Huh epitomizes what it means to be recognized as a Nationally Distinguished Principal. Her work at the school site and within her district speaks for itself,” Borba said. “Beyond what she does to support her community, Eveline has passionately represented California principals as President of the ACSA Elementary Education Council and California State Representative for NAESP.”
Prior to her arrival in 2016, morale at Willow Elementary School was low, student discipline levels were high, and the school had the lowest student achievement out of all 19 elementary schools in the district. Huh’s leadership began by building relationships with teachers and staff and establishing a trust that would enable a collective re-envisioning of the school’s culture. By integrating the AVID system throughout the school and establishing PBIS strategies and multi-tiered systems of support, Huh has been able to close opportunity gaps for students.
“One of the biggest leadership lessons that I have learned in my 13 years as a principal is that the principal alone cannot do it all. Being a successful and effective principal requires one to effectively distribute leadership and build capacity amongst the staff,” Huh said in her application.
Huh will be honored during the National Distinguished Principal Recognition & Celebration event Oct. 7-8 in Washington, D.C.
NASSP’s National Principal of the Year program recognizes outstanding middle level and high school principals from all 50 states. Each year, an ACSA Administrator of the Year in either the Middle Grades Principal or High School Principal category is selected for this national award.
Briquelet was selected as a state finalist by ACSA’s Middle Grades and Secondary Education Councils, and ACSA NASSP Liaison Derrick Lawson.
“I am so proud to see John represent California for this prestigious recognition as he has been a champion of equity, connection to school, and fostering a relationship with a caring adult for every student to help give them an advocate, mentor or guide,” Lawson said. “His leadership is widely respected beyond his campus, district and community, and is recognized across California.”
Since becoming principal of Whitney High School in 2016, Briquelet has instituted a number of efforts to help students feel safe, have a sense of well-being, and learn productively. These have included anti-racism training for staff, hiring wellness counselors and improving grading practices to open opportunities to more challenging coursework for all students. These and other efforts have garnered Whitney HS national attention and a ranking as the 2022 US News and World Report #1 High School in California (#14 in the United States).
“Because Whitney High School is frequently ranked as one of the top three high schools in California, some people believe we do not need to change and that our status quo is just fine,” Briquelet said in his application. “I have never believed this to be the case; instead, I genuinely believe that if we are to give kids our very best, we must always strive for improvement.”
From the state winners, three finalists are named as contenders for the National Principal of the Year award. All state finalists will be honored at the National Principals Institute in September in Washington, D.C.
Willow Elementary School Principal Eveline E. Huh.
Whitney High School Principal John K. Briquelet.
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