Mason, MI, December 8, 2015
- With such ambitious aspirations, it comes as no surprise that Nicole Airgood, principal of Sturgis's Eastwood Elementary School, has been named the 2015 Outstanding Practicing Principal by the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA). Presented to just one principal per year, the Outstanding Practicing Principal Award, sponsored by SET-SEG
, recognizes principals who have exhibited extraordinary leadership, commitment to their students and faculty, service to their communities, and contributions to the profession. The honor was presented to Airgood at MEMSPA's 90th Annual State Conference.
Airgood's nomination was accompanied by tremendous support from teachers, parents, school district administration, and community members.Supporters sited her leadership in bringing transformational programs, like The Leader in Me, to the district as well as her involvement in the community with groups like the Eastside Kiwanis Club. But they also agreed that it is Airgood's courage, intentionality, and integrity that shine. Retired Superintendent Robert Olsen commented, "Nicole has lead initiatives that have enhanced the skill of her professional and support staff, while also developing and capitalizing on student performance. She epitomizes energy, commitment, and integrity and has exhibited exceedingly high expectations for herself and those with whom she works. But more importantly, she excels at building relationships...with students, staff, parents, and the community at large. I continue to be impressed with her commitment to the profession and her courage when it comes to finding the solutions through best practices. She never hesitates to follow the right path, regardless of how difficult that might be."
In passionate letters of support teachers, fellow principals, and community leaders pointed to Airgood's relentless pursuit of what is best for children and the mastery with which she builds relationships. Rarely in her office during the school day, one is more likely to find Airgood greeting students in the parking lot, walking the halls with kids, or encouraging teachers in classrooms. Eastwood Elementary's Assistant Principal, Mike Miller put it this way, "[Nicole] raises the bar, inspires others to perform at their highest level, and fosters shared leadership through her trust and belief in every human being."
MEMSPA Executive Director, Paul Liabenow, stated, "Nicole Airgood is truly one of the best of the best that Michigan education has to offer. Her tireless support of and belief in all students has created a culture in Sturgis that we hope will become contagious throughout the state. I have no doubt that she will represent MEMSPA and her colleagues well this year as Michigan's Outstanding Practicing Principal."