NAU grads sweep Rodel exemplary principal awards

Chad Gestson, NAU alumnus and 2013 Rodel Exemplary Principal, speaks with students and their parents

Northern Arizona University alumni made a clean sweep of the Rodel Exemplary Principal awards for 2013, with all seven winners having earned degrees or certificates from the university.

The Rodel Exemplary Principal Initiative recognizes principals in high-need schools in Maricopa, Pima, Pinal and Yavapai counties. The winners each receive a $2,500 savings bond and will mentor three aspiring principals over the next two years.

Rodel selected the winners from 13 finalists who are recognized for their exceptional management abilities and for fostering a welcoming, safe learning environment focused on student achievement. Twelve of the 13 finalists earned a degree or certification from NAU.

“I’m very proud of our exemplary principals and that NAU continues to produce the majority of those recognized by Rodel,” said Michael Sampson, dean of NAU’s College of Education. “Our exemplary principals are a result of the university’s outstanding faculty and its school partners. We greatly appreciate the contributions Rodel is making to public education in Arizona.”

Listed below are the 2013 Rodel Exemplary Principals, degree or certificate earned from NAU, the school they currently lead and the city in which it is located:

  • Laura Couret, bachelor’s in elementary education and master’s in bilingual and multicultural education, Quentin Elementary School, Avondale
  • Chad Gestson, master’s and doctoral degrees in educational leadership, Camelback High School, Phoenix
  • Michael Henderson, master’s in educational leadership, Galveston Elementary School, Chandler
  • Patricia Scarpa, master’s in educational administration, Desert Star School, Avondale
  • Stephen Trejo, administrative certification, C.E. Rose Elementary School, Tucson

Additional finalist principals are:

  • Brenda Catlett, master’s in educational leadership, Arizona Desert Elementary School, Tolleson
  • Zachary Munoz, master’s and doctoral degrees in educational leadership, Betty Fairfax High School, Phoenix
  • Betty Paterson, master’s in educational leadership, Sunset Elementary School, Phoenix
  • Margaret Serna, master’s in educational leadership and supervision, Tavan Elementary School, Scottsdale

Half of the 12 teachers tapped in December as 2013 Rodel Exemplary Teachers also are NAU alumni.