Mark Twain Elementary Principal up for National Award - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Mark Twain Elementary Principal up for National Award

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Mark Twain Elementary Principal Valerie Aragon is among the top three candidates for the National Distinguished Principal (NDP) award. Mark Twain Elementary Principal Valerie Aragon is among the top three candidates for the National Distinguished Principal (NDP) award.

PASCO, WA - Mark Twain Elementary Principal Valerie Aragon is among the top three candidates for the National Distinguished Principal (NDP) award.

Aragon was selected as the 2014 Distinguished Elementary School Principal of the Year for the Lake Wallula Region representing Southeast Washington in December.

To be eligible for the Elementary School Principal of the Year, an individual must first be selected as a Regional Distinguished Principal. Each year, the Board of Directors of the Elementary School Principals Association of Washington chooses 18 principals as regional winners and from this group the state winner is selected by a panel. The Washington state winner becomes a National Distinguished Principal as part of a program sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and VALIC. National Distinguished Principals are recognized at an awards banquet each year in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this month, evaluators from the Elementary School Principals of Washington (ESPAW) visited Twain Elementary to see Aragon in action and to evaluate her performance as one of the top three principals in the state.

They also met with parents, teachers, students, support staff and District administrators. The group's decision on the winner of the NDP award is expected to be announced sometime next week. 

This is Aragon's third year as principal at Twain Elementary. She previously served as principal of Whittier Elementary School for seven years and as assistant principal of Stevens Middle School for two years. She also was an assistant director of Special Services for a year. She began her career in the District in 1996 as a Special Education teacher at Stevens Middle School. Aragon has also taught for the migrant night school and the extended day school programs at Pasco High School, and was a teacher trainer for several years.

Growing up in New Mexico at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Aragon says she always loved school and had teachers who inspired her and made a difference in her life. Now, she strives to make a difference in the lives of all her students. 

"I try every day to be the principal I would want my children to have," she said. "And, I tell my teachers to be the teacher they would want their children to have."

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