By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Wascher leader named Oregon elementary principal of the year

LAFAYETTE -- Kourtney Ferrua, who is in her sixth year as principal of Wascher Elementary School in Lafayette, Friday was named Oregon Elementary School Principal of the Year.

Wascher and McMinnville School District staff members, state officials and family members surprised her with the announcement. Ferrua said she didn't suspect anything until a pair of drummers marched into the school library, where a staff training program was in session.

A 1995 McMinnville High School graduate, Ferrua immediately deflected the accolades.

"This is YOUR award," she told her staff proudly.

A little later, she called the team at Wascher "amazing."  She noted the staff's cohesiveness and collaboration.

"They are relentless about student success," she said. "They meet kids where they're at and don't stop until they find success."

Barbara Curtis, who teaches preschool at Wascher, wouldn't let the principal bow out of the honors. "It starts form the top down," she said.

Superintendent Maryalice Russell said both Ferrua and the Wascher staff deserve kudos. "It's the collective work of everyone here, every day, in addition ot the commitment Kourtney makes," she said.

Craig Hawkins of the Confederated Organization of School Administrators came to Lafayette to announce the honors.

He said he wished Ferrua could have heard the glowing terms in which she was discussed at the meeting where the principal of the year was chosen. Everyone was "gushing" about Wascher, its principal and the leadership Ferrua shows at the state level.

She has convinced them of her school's commitment to the "relentless belief that every child has the capacity to learn," he said.

Ferrua became a principal and was assigned to Wascher in 2013. Before that, she spent seven years in the district as a kindergarten teacher and instructional coach.

She isn't the first McMinnville School District administrator to be honored at the state level over the years.

Elementary principals Stephanie Legard and Sarah Johnson also were named Oregon elementary principal of the year. Legard, who was at Sue Buel Elementary at the time, now works at the district office. Johnson has moved to another district.

Kris Olsen, now retired from Mac High was named Oregon High School Principal of the Year in 2015.

Duniway Middle School Principal Cathy Carnahan, also now retired, was named state and national principal of the year.

Nutrition services director Cindi Hiatt Henry was named state and regional food service director. Karin Nichols was chosen as Oregon Nutrition Manager of the Year.

And Superintendent Maryalice Russell was named Oregon Superintendent of the Year.

Please see the full story of the McMinnville School District's latest principal of the year in the Tuesday print edition of the News-Register.






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