Jeremy Rich, principal at Barringer Road Elementary School in the Central Valley Central School District, has been selected as the 2017 New York State Elementary Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). This award is given annually to a member of SAANYS and NAESP who has set the pace, character, and quality of education for the children in his or her school. Nominees are administrators who are committed to students, parents, and the community and have shown exceptional contributions to the educational process.
An educator for many years, Rich has served the Central Valley CSD as a teacher or principal for more than two decades. Former principal of the now closed Remington Elementary School, Rich helped facilitate the successful merger of the Mohawk and Ilion school districts. Rich then became principal of the Barringer Road Elementary School, which was originally set up as a pre-k through 4 building. Just a few years after that change, it is now serving grades 2 through 4 for the entire district. Throughout this time of uncertainty for the school, Rich was known as a leader who created a culture of “encouragement, modeling, being involved, staying positive, finding solutions, being creative, working hard, and persevering when life gets tough, which then translates to profoundly impacting students to have the ambition, know how, and drive to create a better tomorrow.” First grade teacher Stephanie Szratter commented, “As a staff member, Jeremy has been able to create a feeling of ‘family’ within our building. It is a place that staff look forward to entering each day.”
Commented Director of Elementary Education and Human Resources Frances LaPaglia, “Jeremy has successfully shaped the culture of every building he has lead. He successfully transitioned to Barringer Road Elementary and immediately earned the admiration and respect of the Barringer Road teachers. I can attest to this personally, as I was the former Barringer Road principal.”
As part of his efforts for advancing a positive climate in the building, Rich, teachers, and the PTO implemented a character education program for the students called “Barringer Road Shining Stars,” as well as a “Buddy Bench” on the playground, so that no student need feel alone. Any staff member may nominate a student seen demonstrating good character. In addition to recognizing students, Rich shares a daily story centered around a positive character trait, and ends each morning announcement with “make it a great day.” The staff also looks forward to his daily “Inspiration Morning Coffee” email, which has now grown to a district-wide distribution. As noted in the numerous letters of support while speaking about the students and the character program, a colleague wrote, “Transforming them into people with empathy, generosity, patience, kindness, respect, responsibility, and all around integrity could not happen without the leadership of a man who also displays these character traits on a daily basis.”
Believing that “Awards are a collection of efforts,” Rich noted that, “The Barringer Road staff is an amazing, thoughtful, hardworking, committed, and caring group of teachers that have dedicated their lives to the teaching profession and the many hats that we all wear to help students find success. I am part of that team.”