Quality Leadership Matters Blog


National Principals Month: Recognizing Strong School Leadership

October 5th, 2017 by


Stories about principals leading their schools with compassion and strong judgment could fill volumes of books.  We share the testimonials below about principals who received the Excellence in Educational Leadership Award in 2017 as examples of the outstanding work being done on behalf children across the profession.

Please join UCEA in recognizing outstanding school leaders not only in October as part of National Principals Month, but every day.


Dr. Renee Corneille

St. Anthony Middle School
St. Anthony Village, Minnesota

Dr. Corneille supports the span of leader development at the University of Minnesota. She teaches in the principal preparation program as an adjunct faculty member. In addition, she serves as a facilitator in the University of Minnesota’s principal executive development program, The Minnesota Principals Academy. She hosts many administrative interns a year in a mentoring role as they work toward principal licensure and sits on panel examinations for those seeking licensure.

Dr. Naomi Landau Ed.D.

Assistant Principal
Louis F. Simeone School
New York, NY

Dr. Landau began her career as an educator 14 years ago, serving as a first grade teacher, staff development specialist, and Assistant Principal. She has also been selected for participation in leadership preparation of the elite group of LEAP professionals by the NYC Department of Education. Her leadership has grown within her role as Assistant Principal in the most culturally and economically diverse districts in the country. She has worked with educators, school leaders, and community members to create a culturally responsive environment and promote teacher leadership within a district with high percentage of immigrant families.


Ms. Lana Shelton-Lowe

Dogwood Elementary School
Knoxville, TN

Ms. Shelton-Lowe has graciously served as a mentor principal for students in both of our leadership preparation programs. She provides aspiring leaders multiple opportunities to learn alongside her, no matter in which program a student is enrolled. She enthusiastically and competently shares her wealth of knowledge and experiences with our students, throughout the program and beyond. She also continues to keep strong connections with those candidates that she mentored over the years as they move into their own administrative positions and keeps an active learning network ongoing with these leaders.


Mr. David Switzer

Ardrey Kell High School
Charlotte, NC

Mr. David Switzer was in the air force prior to becoming an educator and is still an active helicopter pilot. (He often tells the story of his accepting the offer of the principalship of Ardrey Kell High from a tent in Afghanistan.) His school continues to run effectively because of his development of other leaders around him, full participatory leadership, delegation of authority, and through the highly organized systems he has put into place at AKHS.  His leadership is recognized by CMS as he serves as a mentor to other principals within the district.


Dr. Melissa Usiak

Sycamore Elementary
Holt, MI

Dr. Usiak has been a role model and mentor for aspiring school leaders throughout her career. As principal of Sycamore Elementary in Holt Public Schools, Dr. Usiak invested much of her time and energy building systems to better support students living in poverty, an experience that informs how she approaches administrator preparation. Particularly noteworthy are Dr. Usiak’s contributions to Michigan State University’s program around developing the leadership capacity of teachers and staff as a means of supporting and sustaining continuous school improvement. 

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