Woodward High School Educator Named Oklahoma High School Principal of the Year
OKLAHOMA CITY (May 1, 2023) – Ron Sunderland, Principal at Woodward High School, has been named the Oklahoma High School Principal of the Year by the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals (OASSP), a professional association of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA).
As principal of Woodward High School, Sunderland has encouraged a school culture marked by student well-being and safety, innovative learning programs, and growth in student achievement. In addition to boasting a 96% average attendance rate, Woodward High School revamped its master schedules to embed time for ACT Prep for students. In the 2022-23 school year, through a GEAR-UP grant, all junior students at Woodward High School received free ACT tests in fall semester followed by ACT tests in the spring semester provided through funding from the Oklahoma State Department of Education. As a result, 62% of juniors improved overall composite ACT scores during that time.
“Mr. Sunderland is a lifelong learner with a collaborative leadership style and a passion for public education,” said Kyle Reynolds, superintendent of Woodward Public Schools. “Ron has built a culture of continuous improvement that is founded in Professional Learning Communities. He has an insatiable appetite for leadership development, and he has a professional learning network of colleagues all over the state. When approached with a novel idea or new concept, I have never heard him say, ‘Yea, but...’ His response is always, ‘Yes, and...” I know he approaches every day with the same overarching goal in mind, which is to do what is best for kids. Woodward is very proud of Ron Sunderland’s selection for this award.”
Under his leadership, Woodward High School has actively expanded opportunities for students to embrace both college and career pathways. In 2017, Woodward Public Schools launched Technical Applications Program (TAP) with introductory STEM courses. This partnership with High Plains Technology Center helps middle and high school aged students gain a working knowledge of the full-time and adult programs available in careers and at the technology center by introducing coursework in seventh grade and continuing into high school.
Dr. Pam Deering, CCOSA executive director said, “Ron Sunderland cares about student achievement. His school is dedicated to offering innovative programming and improving community partnerships. Because of his work, students have access to stronger learning opportunities, a positive school environment, and preparation for future careers. I congratulate him for this well-deserved honor as the OASSP High School Principal of the Year.”
Senior student Madison Green appreciates the ways Mr. Sunderland encourages her and other students. “He greets me and peers by a fist bump or a hello. He comes to all the events – whether it’s sports, arts, or award ceremonies. He is a very understanding principal and truly wants the best for his students. Our principal gives us all the resources to guide us to our goals and make us better than the day before.”
Beth Baker, a Woodward High School teacher and parent, explains, “Mr. Sunderland speaks with students at Woodward High School like the young adults they are. He gives them choices and asks for their input in situations where he can. He has encouraged our students to become members of our SALT (superintendent’s advisory leadership team) program to have their voices heard and practice being in leadership situations.”
“I am humbled to receive this recognition,” said Sunderland. “There are many outstanding and accomplished high school principals throughout the state, and I am deeply honored to be recognized as one of those. I work with an amazing and supportive team of administrators, teachers, staff and students. This is a testament to the collaborative and incredible work of the entire Woodward High School community. I could not be more proud nor humbled to serve as principal at Woodward High School.”
“Ron Sunderland believes in helping all students achieve,” said William Parker, OASSP executive director. “Oklahoma school communities rely on principals like Mr. Sunderland for providing the best opportunities for students. The role of the principal is pivotal in cultivating healthy learning environments. He is an example of the hard work, dedication, and excellence principals across the state are providing to their schools. We are proud to recognize him for his service to his school community and as a role model for all Oklahoma school leaders.”
Sunderland will be recognized as the Oklahoma High School Principal of the Year by CCOSA and OASSP at the CCOSA Summer Leadership Conference in June 2023. He will also be recognized by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and will be eligible to become one of three finalists to be named as contenders for the National Principal of the Year award. A judging panel will choose finalists based on their written applications, data provided and letters of recommendation, according to the National Association for Secondary School Principals.
For more information about the High Principal of the Year award or to learn more about CCOSA and OASSP, visit ccosa.org.
CCOSA announces Chis LeGrande as OASSP/OMLEA Executive Director
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA. (MARCH 23, 2023) – The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) has announced Chris LeGrande, Guthrie High School Principal, as the next Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals (OASSP) and the Oklahoma Middle Level Educator Association (OMLEA), beginning July 1, 2023.
“We are thrilled to have Chris join our staff at CCOSA because he has been an integral part of this association for many years,” said Dr. Pam Deering, CCOSA Executive Director and OASA Executive Director. “His service as a previous OASSP President and CCOSA Executive Committee chair has given him a front-row seat in the important work CCOSA does in serving school leaders. Most importantly, Chris is a man of integrity who leads from solid core values that will benefit the service he will bring OASSP/OMLEA in the days ahead.”
Mr. LeGrande will succeed Will Parker, who has served as OASSP/OMLEA Executive Director for the past five years and is transitioning into fulltime education consulting. “Chris is well known among Oklahoma principals as a highly effective school leader,” Parker said. “He is a former OASSP High School Principal of the Year, and he was named National Advocacy Champion by the National Association of Secondary Principals in 2022. He has also served as NASSP State Coordinator for several years. Chris has a reputation as a strong advocate for public education.”
For 11 years, LeGrande has served as the principal of Guthrie High School, and in that time, he has invited many state and federal lawmakers to join him for shadowing visits at Guthrie so that they can learn more about the experiences of a thriving public school. He presents regularly at CCOSA conferences and brings years of expertise to his service of secondary leaders and middle level educators.
To learn more about OASSP and OMLEA, visit www.ccosa.org.
The Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals supports secondary level principals by providing quality professional development, encouraging advocacy and networking for the improvement of middle and high school education in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Middle Level Education Association improves the educational experience of young adolescents by providing vision, knowledge, and resources to all who serve them in order to develop healthy, productive and ethical citizens.
The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration is an incorporated, not for profit organization which establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of the schools. The Council is the umbrella organization for the following professional associations: the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators (OASA), the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals (OASSP), the Oklahoma Association of Elementary School Principals (OAESP), the Oklahoma Middle Level Education Association (OMLEA), and the Oklahoma Directors of Special Services (ODSS).