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Crook County Administrator Named 2022 Oregon High School Principal of the Year

SALEM, Ore. – Michelle Jonas, Principal of Crook County High School (CCHS) in Prineville, has been named the 2022 Oregon High School Principal of the Year.  Jonas was selected by her peers in the Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA).

Jonas, in her ninth year as principal at CCHS, has been laser-focused on student outcomes and school culture throughout her tenure.  With Jonas as CCHS principal, graduation rates have increased from 59% to 98%.  Her systematic approach to building school culture has “united staff and students in a common purpose – caring for themselves, caring for each other, and practicing positive character commitments” such as kindness, acceptance, belonging and well-being, according to Crook County Superintendent Sara Johnson.

“Michelle’s leadership is a testament to the correlation between a strong school culture and high student achievement,” Johnson wrote.  “She is a truly great administrator, a servant leader and builder of community and family.”

Jonas was successful at continuing to build school culture even during the pandemic.  When traditional graduation ceremonies were in jeopardy two years ago, Jonas and her administrative team listened to students and celebrated CCHS graduates by having them parade through the streets of Prineville while poster-sized pictures of each graduate lined the route.  When more traditional graduation ceremonies were allowed last year, students petitioned to keep the parade.

During Jonas’ tenure, the school’s Career-Technical Education, Agriculture and counseling programs have flourished.  She was recently recognized as Administrator of the Year by the Oregon Agriculture Teachers Association, and Jonas and her staff were honored this year for their transformative work by the Oregon School Counselors Association.

“Congratulations to Michelle on receiving this very well-deserved award,” said OASSA President Ryan Gerry, principal at Grant Union Junior/Senior High School in John Day.  “Her commitment to continually seeking opportunities to enhance student engagement and building a culture of success is a model for administrators across the state.”

“We are so pleased to honor Michelle with this award,” said OASSA Past-President Majalise Tolan, secondary teaching and learning director in Lincoln County School District.  “Her dedication to Crook County High School and her community have not gone unnoticed.  She has set a great example for Oregon leaders.”

Jonas will be honored at the annual COSA Seaside Conference in June and at the Oregon Principals Conference in October.  She will also be honored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).