Rick Wilson, principal at John Sevier Elementary in the Maryville City Schools, was recently named Tennessee’s 2009 National Distinguished Principal. “Mr. Rick,” as he is affectionately referred to by his students and staff, has been invited to Washington, D.C., in October to celebrate the honor and share best practices with other public and private school principals from across the United States and several other countries.
The National Distinguished Principals program has been recognizing exemplary K-8 administrators for the past 26 years. The program honors those who exhibit outstanding leadership skills, the ability to meet the academic needs of all students, and have established strong relationships with parents, the community and local businesses. The program is sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the United States Department of Education.
Maryville Director of Schools Stephanie Thompson said the motto at John Sevier Elementary is “Expect the Best” and the John Sevier staff and every student in the building knows that Mr. Rick expects everyone’s personal best every single day. “The overall performance and fantastic progress at the school reflects that expectation,” she said. “Through strong leadership, mentoring and interpersonal skills, Mr. Rick has established an attitude of high expectations that resonates with every stakeholder at the school.”
Wilson said the honor has allowed him to reflect on his career. “As part of that reflection, I can see that sharing the opportunity to lead at all levels in the school is what turns average into outstanding,” he said. “Fortunately our students, staff, parents and community have accepted the challenge to expect more. However, I must admit that this award was never something I expected, and it will be a true honor to represent our city and our state in Washington this fall.”