SPOKANE, Wash. - Principal Gina Naccarato-Keele was awarded Washington Elementary Principal of the Year. Naccarato has been principal at Linwood for a decade and has also taught at Central Valley and Regal Elementary.
"I love being able to work with kids, that's why we are here," said Naccarto.
Her students were beyond thrilled to know their very own principal won the award and many of them made cards and sent her flowers and well wishes.
"It was so cute, I almost cried when I read some of these," said Naccarato.
Few of the students or staff were surprised at the award, saying it was well earned. They've already been talking to their friends about it.
"My friends have said their principals are so and nice and do all these things for them," said Rickey Hankins, a fourth grader, "and I'm like Mrs. Naccarato does that times a million."
Naccarato has brought the school to new heights during her ten years, and has also been instrumental in bringing in new programs to the school. One of them, a weekly lunch with students that have reached a goal in the classroom, is called Principal's Table and the students love it.
"In Kindergarten I had been with her two times," said Lailee Butler, a first grader, " and in first grade I've been with her once."
Her recipe for success boils down to being a part of the school community.
"It's about just being a person that is available and supportive," said Naccarato. "It's all about getting kids what they need to be successful in life."
To other teachers looking for continued success, she says remember why you became a teacher in the first place.
"Keep children first, that is why we are here," she said.
It's something that she tells her staff on a daily basis and has earned her a lot of respect in the classrooms, and from long-time assistants as well.
"It's cool to see a woman role model. She's so strong while being friendly and she's professional," said Olivia Dickey, a third grade teacher.
"I've been here at Linwood for five principals," said Cyndi Holzer, "she's the best. We hit the jackpot."
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