Published on October 16th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


District Five educator named among America’s best principals

Lake Murray Elementary School Principal Claire Thompson, far left, is pictured with her husband, Stuart, and state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman

CHAPIN – A Lexington-Richland School District Five administrator has been named a 2015 National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

Lake Murray Elementary School Principal Claire Thompson is among 59 elementary and middle school principals from across the nation and abroad being honored Oct. 16 at an awards banquet in Washington, D.C. Last December, Thompson was named the South Carolina Association of School Administrators Principal of the Year for the elementary school level. She has worked as a principal for more than 20 years, including at least 17 years at Lake Murray Elementary School.

“To be counted among the best principals in America is a great honor,” Thompson said. “Being a principal is truly the hardest job a person will ever love. I love working with parents. I love working with students and teachers, and that’s why I do it. I’m proud to serve in a great school and district, and I share this honor with all the great staff, students, teachers and families that I get to work with each day as principal.”

Established in 1984, the two-day National Distinguished Principals celebration program recognizes public and private school principals who make superior contributions to their schools and communities. Selected by NAESP state affiliates and by committees representing private and overseas schools, the National Distinguished Principals also have the opportunity to share best practices while being honored at the program for “sustaining strong schools.” The October event is funded through VALIK and coincides with National Principals Month.

“District Five has many extraordinary principals, and Ms. Thompson is among the best anywhere,” said District Five Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hefner. “Her students have achieved at the highest levels, her teachers have earned state and national honors…and all of this is a direct reflection of her steady, consistent and exceptional leadership. We proudly congratulate her for all that she has accomplished.”

NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly congratulated the class of outstanding principals, noting their significant role in successfully leading students, schools, and communities through seismic shifts in education. “Only a school principal can lead a school to success and positively impact an entire learning community,” she said. “That is why I am so pleased to congratulate this year’s class of National Distinguished Principals—they richly deserve this honor and many more.”

“VALIC is very proud of our 26 year partnership with the National Distinguished Principals Award Program,” said Jana Greer, President and CEO, Individual and Group Retirement, AIG. “We recognize the critical role education plays in the lives of our nation’s children, and principals are the key to ensuring the highest quality education. On behalf of VALIC, I warmly congratulate all 59 of this year’s National Distinguished Principals and extend my deepest thanks for all that they do.”


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