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Norman educator selected as Oklahoma Assistant Principal of the Year

Stephanie Williams, assistant principal at Norman North High School, has been named the 2018 Oklahoma Assistant Principal of the Year by the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals (OASSP).

“Stephanie Williams is a committed education leader who serves students with her actions as well as her heart. She has a great depth of insight and is a role model for administrators throughout the State of Oklahoma,” said William Parker, Executive Director for OASSP.

Pam Deering, CCOSA executive director, knows the vital role principals play in educating students.

“We know that principal leaders are key to the climate and culture of their schools that lead to student success. On behalf of CCOSA, congratulations to Stephanie for this deserving honor. Thanks, as well, to Will Parker and his team for their work on this selection committee.”

Williams, with13 years of Oklahoma public education experience, has served as the freshman assistant principal of Norman North High School since 2016. Prior to her role at Norman North, she was assistant principal at Whittier Middle School in Norman for six years. Williams began her teaching career in Taft Middle School in Oklahoma City before moving to Norman as an 8th grade math and algebra teacher at Irving Middle School.

“Stephanie Williams has an unequaled devotion to educating students that is a true inspiration and we are so very proud of this recognition of her leadership and dedication,” said Dr. Peter Liesenfeld, Norman North principal. “Her achievements are deeply rooted in her passion to set high expectations for herself and the faculty, while always keeping the focus on the success of our students.  She is a true asset to our community and we are certainly lucky to have Stephanie at Norman North.”

Williams has a collaborative leadership style. As an instructional leader, she models best practices for teachers and has helped develop common planning periods so that instructors can collaborate around student learning outcomes. She is a strong believer in giving students ownership of their learning and has helped students and teachers transition to new uses of technology. Her approach to student discipline involves restorative justice practices.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected as the Oklahoma Assistant Principal of the Year,” Willams said. “The work we do as administrators can be difficult, but it comes with so many rewards. I truly love that I get the opportunity each and every day to make a difference - big or small - in the lives of so many students. As an educator, my guiding principle has always been to do what is best for kids. I am blessed to be in a job that allows me to do that.  I have had the opportunity in my career to work with and learn from some of the best administrators in the state, especially in Norman, and I'm excited every day to keep doing the work I do with great people. 

“I believe it is important to define success for students and work with them to reach their full potential,” Williams explains. “This year in our freshman academy we narrowed this down to three main factors for their focus. First, they will achieve and gain at least 5 academic credits. Next, we help them to be involved in activities that provide meaning to their day or life. And third, the students build a relationship or connection with at least one trusted adult.”

Williams strives to help teachers understand how to reach all students. She has presented on culturally responsive teaching styles so that instructors learn strategies to reach students from a variety of backgrounds or demographics. She founded a mentor program, DARE 2 HOPE, in 2008 that focuses on building academic success and student self-awareness primarily for students of color. She also serves on Norman Public Schools Culture and Climate Advisory Board to help recognize and promote diversity and inclusion within the district. With more than 2,400 students at Norman North High School, students have consistently scored above average on state assessments.

 Finalists for 2018 Oklahoma Assistant Principal of the Year included:

  • Carrie Higdon, Cimarron Middle School, Edmond
  • Sharon James, Charles Page High School, Sand Springs
  • Melissa Provenzano, Bixby High School, Bixby
  • Gabe Schmidt, Heartland Middle School, Edmond

Williams is eligible to become a national finalist. Three finalists for the NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year will be selected from eligible state winners by a judging panel. Their decision is based on the written applications, data provided and letters of recommendation. National finalists are the honored guests at NASSP’s National Principal Conference in July.

The Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals is an affiliate association within the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA). CCOSA serves over 3000 superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals, special education directors and central office administrators.