For the fifth consecutive year, a graduate of the University of Washington College of Education has been named a Washington State Principal of the Year.
Mia Williams, principal of Seattle's Aki Kurose Middle School since 2008, was announced as the 2016 Washington State Middle Level Principal of the Year by the Association of Washington School Principals. Williams is a graduate of UW's Danforth Educational Leadership Program and currently enrolled in its Leadership for Learning (L4L) Ed.D. program.
"Mia's passion for the work she does shows every day, through her dedication and powerful leadership," said Larry Nyland, superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. "This can be seen as soon as you walk through the doors at Aki Kurose, where she and her staff continue to create a culture where students are empowered and given opportunities to learn and grow to reach their full potential."
Under Williams' leadership, students at Aki Kurose have annually demonstrated some of the strongest academic growth among schools in the district and the school was recently identified as one of Seattle's most successful in closing opportunity gaps.
Williams recently was among a handful of principals invited to the White House to participate in a panel about supporting student success, where she shared her experience and expertise using early warning systems, student success mentors and enhanced student support systems to reduce chronic absenteeism.
"Mia Williams leads by example and embodies what it means to be an equity-driven, learning focused, collaborative leader," said Ann O'Doherty, director of UW's Danforth program. "As an alumnus, Mia continues to contribute to the Danforth program and serves as a mentor to Danforth interns — thereby shaping the development of future educational leaders."
"Mia is the real deal," said Meredith Honig, director of UW's L4L program. "She works relentlessly inside and outside her school to tackle obstacles to student success at their roots. That’s the kind of leadership that gets to lasting change."
Since 2006, eight Washington school administrators who have completed the Danforth and L4L programs have been selected as a Washington State Principal of the Year.
Williams began teaching in Seattle Public Schools in 1993 and entered the Danforth program in 2000. After completing her master's degree, Williams served as an assistant principal in the district at Salmon Bay and Denny International before assuming leadership of Aki Kurose.
In 2013, Williams received the Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence, which recognizes outstanding secondary school principals in the district, and was lauded for creating a "school culture of high expectations, inclusiveness, equity and mutual respect among staff, students, families and community members."
Williams is now eligible for the 2016 National Middle Level Principal of the Year award, sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Washington Principals of the Year: UW Alumni
Anissa Bereano, Middle School
Highland Middle School, Bellevue School District
Danforth Cohort 16
Keisha Scarlett, Middle School
South Shore PK-8, Seattle Public Schools
Danforth Cohort 20, L4L Cohort 6
Chris Pearson, Elementary
West View Elementary, Burlington-Edison School District
L4L Cohort 5
Kelly Aramaki, Elementary
Beacon Hill International School, Seattle Public Schools
Danforth Cohort 15, L4L Cohort 6
Kenny Renner-Singer, Middle School
Icicle River Middle School, Cascade School District
L4L Cohort 4
Aaron Leavell, High School
Bremerton High School, Bremerton School District
L4L Cohort 4
Eric DeJong, Middle
Richard L. Post Middle School, Arlington School District
Danforth Cohort 8
Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications