Central HS principal up for national honor

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

WOODSTOCK — A Shenandoah County high school principal is one of three school leaders nominated for a national Principal of the Year award.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals nominated Melissa Hensley of Central High School for the award on June 28. She will compete against a middle school principal in Colorado and a high school principal from Georgia.

The Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals named Hensley its Outstanding High School Principal of the Year in May. The national nomination came during the state group’s annual convention in Williamsburg.

The Reston-based national group will announce its winner during its annual conference marking National Principals Month in October. The nominees will attend a leadership conference in Washington, D.C., in September, where they will complete final interviews and other requirements for consideration.

Hensley, 45, has been Central High’s principal since 2012. Her nomination concludes a banner school year for the school.

In September, the U.S. Department of Education named it one of 335 Blue Ribbon Schools in the country for its high Standards of Learning scores and graduation rate.

In March, the school was named one of 348 national finalists in XQ: The Super Schools Project, which is funded by Steve Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs. The project will award $2 million grants to five schools that have the best ideas of what a 21st-century education should look like in August.

Additionally, Central High science teacher Amy Bauserman was named Shenandoah County’s Teacher of the Year and will represent the county in the regional competition in September.

Hensley said she was “surprised but excited” to receive the nomination.

“It provides a lot of great opportunities for me to network with individuals … and steal some ideas from them, but also share our ideas,” she said. “It’s fantastic because it gets our name out there and helps us expand our boundaries and make us better.”

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