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McMinnville's Legard named Oregon Elementary Principal of Year

Stephanie Legard, principal of Sue Buel Elementary School in McMinnville, has been named as the Oregon National Distinguished Principal (elementary principal of the year) for 2014.  Legard was selected by COSA and the Oregon Elementary School Principals Association (OESPA).

Legard has served as principal for the past five years at Sue Buel Elementary, where 82 percent of students are elegible for free or reduced-price meals, 52 percent Hispanic and 41 percent are English learners.  During her tenure, students at Sue Buel have significantly outperformed other schools with comparable demographics on all state assessments.  "Without hesitation, I believe my most significant accomplishment is creating a school culture and climate where every one or the 62 staff members believe that all students can achieve academic excellence," Legard wrote in her National Distinguished Princpal application.  "At Buel, we fervently believe that teacher professional practice has a significantly greater impact on student outcomes than demographics and, in fact, believe that teacher practice can overcome the impact of disadvantaged demographics."

Sue Buel Elementary received the ESEA "model school" designation in 2011-13 and 2012-13, which recognizes high-poverty schools in which students achieve at high levels and experience accelerated rates of academic growth.  Under Legard's leadership, the school has focused staff development on the Power Strategies for Effective Teaching framework, 2) Common formative assessments and data teams, and 3) the Rigorous Curriculum Design framework.  Sue Buel has also focused on research-based strategies for English learners, as well as a "Ready for Kindergarten" program.

"Stephanie Legard is an exemplary school leader who inspires teachers, staff, students and parents to dream more, learn more, do more and become more," McMinnville Superintendent Maryalice Russell said.  "Stephanie holds high expectations for all students and demonstrates the will and ability to do whatever it takes to ensure each and every student gets the personalized support they need to achieve their dreams and aspirations."

As the National Distinguished Principal winner for Oregon, Legard will be honored at the Annual COSA conference in Seaside in June. She will also attend a special recognition ceremony in Washington D.C. in October.