Congratulations Diane Gough, Texas 2015 National Distinguished Principal!

Mentoring Minds was proud to be on the scene at the surprise announcement of the Texas 2015 National Distinguished Principal (NDP). Principal Diane Gough of Hewitt Elementary was awarded the honor by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) at a surprise assembly on Monday morning in front of 600 of her students and teachers. As a longtime TEPSA partner, Mentoring Minds proudly presented Gough with a check for $10,000.

By every account, Principal Gough is a deserving winner. As a twenty-year veteran of Midway ISD, she has become a vital force in the district, even earning the nickname “Dean of Elementary Principals” from the superintendent, George Kazanas. “She is the wise one that many of our folks go to for advice,” Kazanas said in his presentation speech.

When Gough arrived at Hewitt Elementary, discipline problems and special education referrals were rising and demographics changing quickly. Gough collaborated with local agencies to locate resources for families, and she provided professional development opportunities for teachers and staff to increase active, engaged learning in classrooms. Teachers embraced the learning and Hewitt Elementary became a leader in best practices in Midway ISD.

“Diane has demonstrated a passion for campus leadership that has earned her the respect of students, parents, teachers and peers,” TEPSA Executive Director Harley Eckhart said. “She’s an innovative leader whose creative thinking inspires others to achieve excellence.”

Partnering with parents, Gough found creative ways to involve them in their children’s education. Knowing that many of her parents work multiple jobs, she replaced the traditional PTA meeting with special curriculum nights, small group meetings, and informational videos for each grade level. Community participation has increased as well and several programs implemented by Gough are now replicated throughout the district.

Recognizing that Gough’s innovation and leadership have a far-reaching impact in the region’s schools, Mentoring Minds sees the award as an investment in the community. Founded by an educator itself, we are proud to highlight the groundbreaking administrators who are rethinking education across the state.

TEPSA received fifty-six nominations for the 2015 NDP award. Gough will officially receive her award on Wednesday, June 10, during the TEPSA Summer Conference in Austin, and she will represent Texas at the National Distinguished Principals program held in Washington, D.C. in October.

See the footage from the assembly on Waco’s KCEN or read more in the local paper.