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Gilchrist named principal of the year

CK Junior High School Principal Barbara Gilchrist has been the top  administrator at the Silverdale school for a decade.  She has taught or been a principal for junior high students for 27 years. - Photo by Kelly Everett
CK Junior High School Principal Barbara Gilchrist has been the top administrator at the Silverdale school for a decade. She has taught or been a principal for junior high students for 27 years.
— image credit: Photo by Kelly Everett

It’s simple. Barbara Gilchrist just loves junior-high kids.

It must show, because the Central Kitsap Junior High school principal has been named state “Middle Level” Principal of the Year for 2003.

“I was very surprised and feel honored to be selected,” said Gilchrist. “But you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with — teachers, custodians, secretaries — the classified as well as the certificated all do a great job here. We have great parent support as well.”

Middle-schoolers can be hormone-loaded challenging group of kids. That’s no problem for Gilchrist who’s been teaching and and leading middle-schoolers for 27 years.

“I like junior high kids,” she said. “I’ve not taught any other level. They’re great kids. You get a chance to see dramatic physical and academic changes at that age.”

The Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) announced the award last week in Olympia.

CKJHS science teacher Todd Lokey said Gilchrist keeps the teachers in mind as well.

“Whenever I need something as a teacher, she’ll run and get it — even on short notice. She has the (teachers) interests at heart. When we need something, she makes it happen,” he said.

“Barbara has made an incredible impact on the learning community at Central Kitsap Junior High,” said Michele Hendrickson, AWSP director of middle level programs. “Everyone in her school, and everyone associated with her school, understands there is a shared vision for all students.

“She has established high standards,” said Hendrickson.

AWSP officials said Gilchrist has created support networks in her school to ensure each child reaches full potential.

“That’s the kind of leader Barbara is, and we’re pleased she will represent Washington state at the national level.”

“She’s the ‘common sense’ principal,” said Julie Moore, CKJHS eighth- and ninth-grade teacher. Corinne Thompson, a seventh- and ninth-grade teacher, said “She’s logical. All of her decisions are based on what’s good for the kids.”

A panel of her peers — principals statewide — selected Gilchrist who has been CKJHS principal for a decade. Each year, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) recognizes secondary-school leaders who provide superior learning opportunities.

Criteria includes: educational leadership, problem-solving skills, staff and self-development, and community service.

“We were very impressed with Barbara’s commitment to the entire learning community at Central Kitsap Junior High,” said Colleen Nelson, president of the Association of Middle Level Principals (WMLP) and principal at Kent Junior High. “Barbara is an effective school leader in her building, but she’s also committed to helping principalship as a profession.”

Gilchrist has served as the chair of the AWSP Professional Development Committee and as a regional director for the Middle-Level Principals board.

Gilchrist will be officially honored at the Association’s 2003 K-12 Fall Conference this October in Spokane. As the state winner, Gilchrist will go on to represent Washington at the national conference next March in Florida.

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