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Amy C. Mason Named Alabama's 2021 NAESP National Distinguished Principal

by Alyssa Godfrey, Director of Communications and Technology | Mar 30, 2021
Mrs. Amy C. Mason, princpal of Madison County Elementary School in the Madison County School System has been named Alabama’s 2021 NAESP National Distinguished Principal by the Alabama Association of Elementary School Administrators (AAESA).

Amy Mason Alabama's 2021 NAESP National Distinguished Principal

GURLEY, ALA. – MARCH 19, 2021: Mrs. Amy C. Mason, principal at Madison County Elementary School in the Madison County School System has been named Alabama’s 2021 NAESP National Distinguished Principal by the Alabama Association of Elementary School Administrators (AAESA). The awards program is sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

Mason’s career in education has spanned numerous states from Arizona to Indiana and Virginia to Maryland before becoming an assistant principal at Chapman P-8 School in Huntsville in 2012. In 2015, Mason was selected to lead Madison County Elementary School in Gurley, Ala., where she has served for the past 5 years. Mason earned a bachelor’s degree from Perdue University in 1991 and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2005.

Mason established partnerships with community organizations to help expand programs and opportunities to students within the school. These partnerships have resulted in afterschool and summer enrichment program grants, long-term mentoring programs, the development of an afterschool haven for at-risk students, a one-on-one reading program with volunteers, and professional development focused on mental health. In addition, partnerships have helped integrate the arts into the core content and to receive grants for STEM programs.

In the principal’s role, Mason created a professional learning community at the school with a focus on the school’s four guiding questions. What do we want our students to know; how will we know if each student has learned it; what will we do if they haven’t learned it; and how will we extend learning for students who already know it? By reworking the master schedule, grade-level teams could have common planning time to establish essential standards for reading and math and then to establish learning targets and develop common formative assessments.

When Mason first started at Madison County Elementary School, she noticed the faculty had a punitive focus toward students. Through the establishment of committees, the focus shifted to a vision of working together to move forward. Disciplinary approaches were transformed by using effective, tiered, research-based interventions. Curricular expectations including classroom management and student engagement were communicated. Instructional practices were modeled during common planning time. During the first year of implementation, the school experienced a 25% reduction in office referrals and became the highest performing middle school in mathematics based on 2016 ACT Aspire results within the district.

“Ms. Mason is always looking for opportunities to serve and always looking for opportunities to build others up and to make others better. She is one of those types of people you want on your team. She has exceptional ideas in her work with social and emotional learning. We are so proud of her," stated Allen Perkins, superintendent, Madison County Schools.

A panel of judges selected Mason from numerous applicants across the state of Alabama.  Her award was presented at Madison County Elementary School on March 19, 2021.  

“Alabama has so many extraordinary educators in leadership roles and Amy Mason is no exception. Her passion for the students, faculty, staff, and entire school community is evidenced by the impact her leadership has made,” said CLAS and AAESA Executive Director Dr. Vic Wilson.

The Alabama NAESP National Distinguished Principal program is presented by the Alabama Association of Elementary School Administrators (AAESA) and is sponsored by Classworks. An office makeover is provided to the recipient by Interior Elements. Each year, the winner receives a trip to Washington, D.C., for the NAESP National Distinguished Principal Awards Ceremony.

Mason will be recognized at the Awards Luncheon during the CLAS Convention on June 15, 2021, at the BJCC in Birmingham, Ala.  The CLAS Annual Summer Convention is the largest gathering of school leaders in the state of Alabama.  She will also be recognized at the AAESA Fall Conference in November 2021.

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About the NAESP National Distinguished Principal Award: Each year, NDPs represent Pre-K through grade 8 public schools from across the country as well as principals in U.S. private schools and those from the United States Departments of Defense Office of Educational Activity and the United States Department of State Office of Overseas Schools. Public school elementary and middle-level principals are nominated by peers in their state, and final selections are made by committees appointed by each of NAESP’s state affiliate offices. Honorees from private schools and overseas schools are selected by special committees.

About AAESA and CLAS: The Alabama Association of Elementary School Administrators is an affiliate association of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS).  CLAS is an umbrella association that serves eleven different affiliates comprised of Alabama’s public school administrators.  CLAS is dedicated to providing the framework to connect dedicated school administrators and other successful leaders with a network for professional growth and support.  For more information, visit www.clasleaders.org.

Photo: Amy Mason named Alabama’s 2021 NAESP National Distinguished Principal. [download photo] Pictured (left to right): David Constantine, Classworks; Brian Brooks, board member; Allen Perkins, superintendent; Amy Mason, principal and award winner; Dr Vic Wilson, executive director of AAESA and CLAS; and Dan Chappell, Interior Elements.