Oregon assistant principal named nation’s best for 2022
Katherine Holden, assistant principal of Ashland Middle School, has been named the national assistant principal of the year in recognition of how she helped creatively and cheerfully guide her school through the aftermath of 2020′s home-destroying wildfires.
Holden said in a statement that she considers it “my mission to do everything I can to create a school environment where students feel safe and staff feel supported so they can be their best and have fun teaching and learning.”
“As we come through the hardest two school years ever,” she said, “I want to take this opportunity to give thanks to all assistant principals for the sometimes overlooked hard work to run schools and support our communities.”
The assistant principal of the year title is awarded each year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
In September 2020, the Almeda fire destroyed roughly 2,600 homes and displaced residents in and around the communities of Ashland, Talent and Phoenix. Holden transitioned the school’s gym into an emergency shelter, contest officials said. And despite the lingering effects of the fire and pandemic, she made Ashland Middle School a positive, playful and community-minded school, they said.
The school, which is the lone middle school in the Southern Oregon college town, enrolls nearly 500 students, about three fourths of them white. Latino students make up about 13% of its students, while multi-racial students account for 12%, according to state enrollment reports.
Ashland Middle School Principal Steve Retzlaff raved about her ability to get things done and her determination to help others thrive. “What sets Katherine apart is her drive to serve and support others,” Retzlaff said in a statement. “Katherine is focused completely on the social, emotional and academic growth of the students she serves and the needs of the staff that work directly with them. Katherine will stop at nothing to make sure that students and staff have the support they need to succeed.”