Lewis and Clark Elementary Principal Alfonso López was honored in Washington D.C. as part of the National Distinguished Principal of the Year program, which is sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education.
López was named this year’s Washington State Elementary Principal of the Year by a panel of principals representing the Elementary School Principals Association of Washington, a component of the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP). All state winners participated in a series of events and activities at the nation’s capital over the course of two days, culminating in a formal awards banquet.
López was recognized along with delegates from all 50 states and two international school delegates from Ecuador and Panama. During an address to fellow delegates, López stated: “I am thankful to work in the Wenatchee School District, a place that believes in diversity and supports our need to prepare students to become citizens of the world by teaching them two languages.” He later met United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and briefly discussed the importance of bilingual programs as an asset for students. López invited DeVos to drop by his school the next time she was in Washington state.
Lopez’s career at Lewis and Clark is like a storybook tale, from Para-Professional to Principal. His leadership has been instrumental in the success of his dual-language school, and this award truly represents his devotion and commitment to the staff, students and parents at Lewis and Clark.
A highlight of his experience in D.C. was meeting principals from around the country and sharing experiences and challenges faced by school leaders. “This opportunity helped me put my job into perspective and has made me a better principal,” said López. Connecting with award-winning principals reinforced the importance of developing school leaders for López. “I have an unbelievable team in Wenatchee and at Lewis and Clark. It’s amazing what we can do together when we have a shared vision of what we want to accomplish.”
López hopes to continue creating awareness of the benefits of dual-language through his platform as Washington State Elementary Principal of the Year. He will be speaking at several state and national conferences on bilingual education and will continue serving on the State’s Steering Committee on bilingual education.