Alum Named Outstanding Principal

Posted: October 31, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Susan E. Bridges, MEd ’88, principal since 2001 of A.G. Richardson Elementary School in Culpeper, Va., is one of 65 outstanding elementary and middle school principals from schools across the nation and abroad named as 2006 National Distinguished Principals by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the U.S. Department of Education.

Susan Bridges
Susan E. Bridges

Bridges was honored at a banquet held in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 27.

“I am proud of the friendly and welcoming climate of our school,” says Bridges in a statement on the NAESP web site.

Not only has Bridges made her school a warm and inviting place by having colorful murals painted on walls, installing comfortable seating in the lobby and hallways and having PTO-sponsored monthly family nights, she has seen to it that her school has met its yearly progress goals under the federal No Child Left Behind Act for the past three years.

Two years ago, Bridges successfully led her staff through the rigorous accrediting process of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, in which the strengths and weaknesses of the school were analyzed and a school improvement plan established.

The plan focuses on the collaborative work of teachers in vertical K-5 teams identifying areas of strength and weakness and designing strategies for growth. Weekly special days for each grade level have all of the school’s resource teachers teaming with the grade-level teachers on a particular topic.

Bridges also invites 30 of the school’s 700 students, chosen for acts of good citizenship, to have lunch with her each week.

Bridges received her BA from Wake Forest University.

NAESP and the U.S. Department of Education started the program in 1984 to recognize public and private school principals who make superior contributions to their schools and communities. The distinguished principals are selected by NAESP state affiliates, and by committees representing private and overseas schools. NAESP represents 30,000 elementary and middle school principals in the U.S. and overseas.

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