Dutchtown High School Principal Carli Francois has been named the 2020 State Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
NASSP works to shape visionary school leaders by providing research-based tools and resources, according to a news release. In addition to its work with principals, NASSP helps to encourage the development of student leaders across the country.
"I am humbled and honored to represent educators in the state of Louisiana, in Ascension Parish Schools, and at Dutchtown High School as part of the NASSP's National Principal of the Year program," Francois said. "Thankfully, I am and always have been fortunate to work with phenomenal educators who have helped fuel my passion for teaching and learning, and I am blessed to live in and work in a community that fully supports our schools. The part of this experience that excites me most is being given the opportunity to meet, network with, and ultimately learn from outstanding principals from around the country.”
Francois said she looks forward to sharing "all the great things we are doing here in Ascension with other principals at the NASSP's Principals' Institute in DC."
The NASSP National Principal of the Year program recognizes middle level and high school principals that have successfully provided high-quality learning opportunities for students, as well as demonstrated exemplary contributions to the profession, the release said. Each year, the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools, and the Department of Defense Education Activity select one middle or high school principal to represent their state. State winners are selected from applications submitted to the state associations. The state winners are narrowed to three national finalists by a panel of judges composed of national leaders in education. From the three finalists, one national winner will be named.
“The state principal of the year is a model of effective leadership whose knowledge, skills, and commitment advances each student toward their full potential,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “The research is clear that leadership is one of the most important school-based factors in student achievement, and NASSP is proud to highlight the incredible work that these principals are doing to build the future.”
Francois began her teaching career in 1998 in St. James Parish. She moved to Ascension Parish in 2005 to become an English and yearbook teacher at Dutchtown High School. In 2007, she became a teacher coach and pursued a master’s degree in educational leadership at Southern University. In 2009, Francois moved to Donaldsonville High School to serve as a mentor teacher. The following year, she was hired by East Ascension High School to serve as an assistant principal overseeing career and technical education. In 2014, Francois became principal of Dutchtown High School, a position she has held for the past five years.
In addition to Francois’s recognition from NASSP, she was named the 2019-2020 Louisiana Principal of the Year by Louisiana Dream Teachers.