Best of the Best Recognized for Outstanding School Leadership

Chelsey Martinez's picture

The Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) is pleased to announce its annual Administrator of the Year award winners for 2018. This year's winners include: Jason Schrock, Principal of Howell High School (High School Principal of the Year); Kevin Rhein, Principal of Pioneer Middle School in Plymouth (Middle Level Principal of the Year); Kyle Fiebig, Principal of the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center (CTE Administrator of the Year) and Roger Gurganus, Assistant Principal of Brownstown Middle School (Assistant Principal of the Year).

"As education requirements and expectations continue to evolve, so does the role of a building leader," said Wendy Zdeb, Executive Director of MASSP. "One thing that remains a constant part of the job description, though, is the opportunity to positively impact others. We are extremely proud of work that Jason, Kevin, Kyle and Roger have done to improve education across our state and make a difference in the lives of their students, staff and community members."

Michigan's Administrator of the Year award winners will be officially honored in front of family, friends and colleagues at MASSP's annual EdCon conference on Monday, June 25 at the Grand Traverse Resort. During the ceremony, winners will each receive a custom ring created and provided by Jostens to commemorate the once in a lifetime honor.

High School Principal of the Year
Jason Schrock has served in Howell High School for nearly 20 years, the last six at its helm as Principal. A highly respected educator and member of the Howell community, Schrock received nearly 30 letters of support for the Principal of the Year nomination. Among those letters were multiple from members of the Howell student body describing the character, integrity and influence of their Principal.

"To be a good leader you must first be a follower," wrote Howell High School student Sullivan Runnion. "This is why Mr. Schrock would be more than qualified for the Principal of the Year award – he sees from the students and the teacher's eyes."

Schrock's nomination packet described a true instructional leader, a man who works to empower teachers to be facilitators, leaders and coaches, while also creating a student-centered learning environment where all stakeholders feel empowered to take ownership of their education. This philosophy is what drives Schrock to make Howell High School an exemplary learning community that maximizes every student's success, as well as a positive school climate that is inviting and safe for all.

In addition to this statewide honor, Schrock was chosen as Michigan's nominee for the National Principal of the Year competition through the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools, and the Department of Defense Education Activity select one middle level or high school principal to represent their state. From these state winners, three finalists are named as contenders for the National Principal of the Year award. The NASSP National Principal of the Year is selected from among the finalists. Schrock will attend the NASSP Principals Institute in Washington, DC in September and vie for the national award, which is announced during National Principals Month in October.

Middle Level Principal of the Year
Kevin Rhein's commitment to the Plymouth-Canton school community and exemplary leadership of Pioneer Middle School for the past seven years is what makes him an outstanding Principal. Described as a leader who possesses a quiet confidence, Rhein seeks to foster a high-level, student-focused learning environment for all those who walk Pioneer's halls.

"Kevin possesses all of the necessary tools to be an effective leader: the awareness to collaborate, the patience to listen, and the courage to allow others to influence and inspire important decisions that he makes on a daily basis for the benefit of Pioneer students and families. There are countless school principals out there who deserve recognition; but one thing I know is there is only one Kevin Rhein," wrote Monica L. Merritt, P-CCS Superintendent of Schools.

From identifying student needs and finding their unique abilities, to seeking opportunities to support his teachers and help them improve instruction, Rhein loves what he does and it shows.

CTE Administrator of the Year
As Principal of the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center (MACTC), Kyle Fiebig oversees the typical day-to-day operations like an administrator in a comprehensive school, in addition to a few other important duties. In Fiebig's case, he is also responsible for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming for all of Muskegon County, the regional workforce development needs, and state compliance and monitoring of CTE content.

Fiebig is well known for both his passion for education and collaborative leadership skills, which are frequently demonstrated at building, regional and state levels. In addition to his leadership at MACTC, he also serves as legislative liaison for the Career Education Planning Districts (CEPD) Council, advocating for improvement to CTE programming statewide. Through this role, Fiebig was instrumental in helping provide new state funding for centers across the state to purchase or upgrade equipment for their CTE programs.

"Kyle Fiebig is a visionary leader who is working with community partners to offer innovative educational programming to help students prepare for successful experiences in college and their future careers," wrote State Senator Geoff Hansen in a letter of support for Fiebig's nomination. "While he is a tireless champion of programming taking place at MACTC, he is also willing to branch out and partner with colleagues around the state to promote the opportunities that exist in this area of education to initiate statewide CTE reform."

Assistant Principal of Year
Appointed to the position of Assistant Principal just three years ago, Roger Gurganus has been a strong leader at Brownstown Middle School since his first day on the job. Student success is first and foremost his priority and he leads by example when it comes to building and improving relationships. Gurganus has been instrumental in the formation of over 15 clubs in an effort to help build school community. He has also taken to social media, including creating weekly Vlogs, to interact with students, parents and the community, as well as to showcase the great work being done at the school.

"The most important aspect of leadership that Roger exudes is creating personal relationships with our students," wrote Lorie Holder, a Guidance Counselor at Brownstown Middle School. "It is no secret that on multiple occasions, Roger's energy and words have been, quite literally, lifesaving. He believes in the power of real talk. Roger does not tell people what they want to hear. He tells them what they need to hear, and he stands by his beliefs with firm conviction. Roger is there to lead, motivate, lend a hand and provide a shoulder to cry on or a smile to uplift. Brownstown Middle School would be lost without him."

As Michigan's Assistant Principal of the Year, Gurganus was the state's nominee to the NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year competition. In July, he will attend the National Principals Conference in Chicago to engage with school leaders from across the country and gain unique recognition before a national audience.