Thursday, March 6, 2014

SBISD Principals of the Year Named

Two campus leaders were named recently by their district peers as Spring Branch ISD’s 2014 Elementary and Secondary Principals of the Year.

Rummel Creek Elementary School Principal Nancy Harn and Stratford High School Principal Chris Juntti won this year’s honors in SBISD’s ninth annual recognition of school leadership.

Principals of the Year are nominated by their peers and must demonstrate the following qualities:

  • Concern for all staff and students and the ability to inspire both of these groups
  • Ability and willingness to work cooperatively with all staff and administrators
  • Proven drive to initiate and implement effective strategies supporting continuous improvement in student performance
  • Ability to work with diverse community groups and all district stakeholders
  • Proven desire for continuous personal and professional growth
  • Ability and willingness to make meaningful contributions to education

Rummel Creek Elementary Principal Nancy Harn

Principal Harn has been school leader since 2006 at Rummel Creek Elementary, 625 Brittmoore. Before that, she was principal at Meadow Wood Elementary for five years. She has 25 years in Texas education, including 12 years in SBISD.

A graduate of Baylor University, Principal Harn earned a master’s degree in early childhood education from St. Thomas University. In 2012, she was a post-graduate fellow in the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program (REEP), which trains area school leaders.

In addition, she holds certifications in the following  areas: Mid-Management Administrator (PreK-12); Elementary Self-Contained and Elementary English (1-8); Kindergarten (PreK-12); and Vocational Home Economic and Science (6-12).

Leadership highlights include two years on the SBISD Superintendent’s Cabinet, multiple presentations at the Harris County Early Childhood Winter Conference, and three-years service as a Collegiate Challenge mentor to juniors and seniors at Stratford High School.

In addition, she has been a co-sponsor for the past seven years for the fifth-grade student group, the Rockin’ Roadrunners.

“Each day I count myself blessed to have the job of principal at Rummel Creek,” Principal Harn says. “At the end of each day, I leave feeling encouraged, inspired, thankful and empowered. I am encouraged to watch children who are energetic, creative and hungry to learn. I am inspired daily by the ways that teachers creatively instruct and challenge students.

“I am thankful for a community of parents that are giving and supportive through gifts of time, talents and money. And I am empowered daily to face challenges in unique ways knowing I have the support of a stellar district.”

Principal Harn believes that the things one is passionate about are not random, but rather a person’s calling. “It is truly an honor to have been nominated by my peers for this recognition. Doing what you like is freedom, but liking what you do is happiness. I am happy to be an elementary principal in Spring Branch,” she says.

“Nancy is truly dedicated to her students, staff and community,” SBISD Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Patti Pace says. “She is a thoughtful and talented leader. We are thankful and feel fortunate to have her serving our Rummel Creek Community.”

Principal Harn leads in the district in so many ways, Hunters Creek Elementary Principal Robye Snyder says.

“She is a fountain of wisdom for fellow principals as we problem solve, celebrate and, sometimes, despair! She readily finds the silver lining in any situation and leads others to see it as well,” Principal Synder says. “Nancy is quick to appreciate the hard work and dedication of her staff and colleagues as she supports and encourages continuous growth and improvement both personally and professionally.”

"Nancy is a lifelong learner. She is constantly attending workshops or reading books and articles to learn new things that she shares with our staff," says Rummel Creek Elementary Librarian Karen Harrell. "Nancy is actively involved with everything at Rummel Creek. She makes it a point to attend any performance by a Rummel Creek group of students, whether it is choir, fiddlers, Odyssey of the Mind, or Rockin' Roadrunners."

“I have worked with Nancy for several years and have found her to be an advocate for students and teachers,” Woodview Elementary i-Coach Catherine Roth says. “Through her exceptional leadership, commitment to professional education, and high expectations for teaching and learning, Nancy proves again and again that teachers do make a difference in the lives of children.”

Stratford High School Principal Christopher Juntti

Christopher Juntti has been the building principal at Stratford High School, 14555 Fern Drive, for the past six years. He has also served as an administrative assistant principal and assistant principal at Seven Lakes and James E. Taylor high schools in Katy ISD between 1997 and 2007. Before that, he was a classroom teacher and coach for a decade.

A graduate of Michigan State University, he earned a master’s degree in administration at Sam Houston State University. Among his many leadership highlights, Principal Juntti is a longstanding member   of the National and Texas Association of Secondary Principals.

He has presented to the Texas association on critical incident planning, and he has chaired district and region UIL committees and competitions. A Federal Bureau of Investigation Citizen’s Academy graduate, he has helped sponsor several Shattered Dreams anti-alcohol programs at the high school.

Under his leadership, Stratford High has been recognized locally and nationally as a top secondary campus. Honors and recognition for the school have included the ACT College Readiness for three years in a row, and recognition as a high ranking campus by U.S. News & World Report and Newsweek national magazines.

Principal Juntti’s tweets and blogs are popular with many staff, students and parents, and often focus on the strengths and accomplishments of “Stratford America.” He highlights students and staff rather than put the spotlight on him.

“I have always taken great pride in not winning awards. I think that I work hard to keep the focus on where it needs to be – the kids and teachers,” Principal Juntti says. “This award signifies two things to me: That our campus is doing well and our kids are successful; and that my peers, who I have great respect for, felt that I was doing a good job. Those things are meaningful to me.”

“I am honored to lead a campus like Stratford High where the community is supportive of all our efforts,” he adds. He attributes success as principal to the love and support of his wife, Cyndi, and to the understanding of the couple’s two kids, Cameron, 17, and Kathryn, 13.

“Chris is a principal that gives his heart and soul to Stratford High School,” SBISD Elementary and Secondary Executive Director Sofia Petrou says. “I fondly call him ‘Mr. Stratford.’ He is an excellent communicator among all stakeholders, and is beloved by the student body for all his campus tweets and announcements. His commitment to Stratford students and his promotion of their academic excellence and adolescent development are always a priority.”

Stratford High Associate Principal Danny Gex has worked with Principal Juntti for 17 years. “He is committed to putting the kids first in all his decisions and supports staff in their quest to become the best through professional development. His blend of intelligence, humor and professionalism is rare, and he’s transformed Stratford into ‘Stratford America’ where we really care about one another’s well-being and success!”


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