Press Release—For Immediate Release

The West Virginia Association for Elementary Middle School Principals (WVAEMSP) is proud to announce Ms. Jennifer Cox of Skyview Elementary School as the 2017 West Virginia Principal of the Year and recognized as a National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary Principals (NAESP).

Ms. Cox was notified of the honor at a surprise assembly at Skyview Elementary with all students, Monongalia County Schools Superintendent Frank Devono, Skyview Assistant Principal Stacey Sylvester, Counselor Matt Tolliver and the Skyview School staff in attendance.

Ms. Cox has many noteworthy accomplishments at the school including working with West Virginia University’s Department of Special Education to identify a group of 4th and 5th graders who would benefit from leadership training. A two-day training session was developed with WVU students as mentors to teach students the keys to effective leadership. Students then worked with their mentors to come up with projects that would improve school climate and culture. They then worked to make their project come to life, including reaching out to community members and families for the greater good of the school. At the end of the semester, a school-wide assembly was held to showcase the projects to other students, staff, WVU personnel, and community members.

Ms. Cox established the Responsive Classroom school program in 2012 in an effort to change the way the students and adults look at behaviors in the school. In the past six years, Skyview has undergone a complete transformation in regards to school best practices. The focus has changed from that of a reward system to that of teacher modeling, high expectations, and appropriate behaviors for becoming a successful adult in a global society.

Ms. Cox also developed a Peer Court to grow leaders using a risk assessment survey given to all students at Skyview. Those students who score lowest on this assessment are those at the lowest risk for failing in the school setting. A team of teachers looks at the lowest scoring students in 4th and 5th grades and selects members to be part of the Peer Court. Students are put through a rigorous training program by the school’s counselor. The Peer Court is then used to assist students in conflicts with others.

“Every day, it is my hope to lead my staff in the ultimate goal of student success of our agreed upon standards of excellence at Skyview,” Ms. Cox stated. “I must communicate our school culture and vision in every aspect of the day, encouraging and supporting those around me to not follow but go with me toward the goal of student success and achievement.

“When the climate of the school is positive and a sense of true caring permeates the building then the whole child is ready for success. A sense of a safe and secure environment promotes risk-taking. Students and staff willing to take risks will expand their learning, and success will come. It takes a strong relationship and shared responsibility for that positive relationship for achievement of all.”

The National Distinguished Principals program honors outstanding elementary and middle-level administrators who ensure that America’s children acquire a sound foundation for lifelong learning and achievement. The program was established in 1984 to recognize and celebrate elementary and middle-level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and staffs in their learning communities.

Each year, NAESP congratulates principals from across the nation in both public and private schools and schools from the United States Departments of Defense Office of Educational Activity and the United States Department of State Office of Overseas Schools for their exemplary achievements. The 2017 NDP event will be held on October 12 and 13 in Washington, D.C. Ms. Cox will also be recognized at the WVAEMSP’s Leadership Conference at the Greenbrier Resort On Monday, November 13, 2017.

The West Virginia Association of Elementary Middle School Principals is the largest school administrator organization in West Virginia. The WVAEMSP offers advocacy and association benefits for all members. For more information please contact Executive Director Dr. Mickey Blackwell at 304-610-6680 or