Stanfield Elementary School’s Sharp Named Principal of the Year

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Stanfield Elementary Principal Lacey Sharp joins students on May 16, 2024 to pet goats, horses, cows and more during the Ag in the Classroom petting zoo day with FFA at Stanfield Elementary. (Photo by Yasser Marte/East Oregonian)

The principal at Stanfield Elementary School is the Oregon Small Schools Association Principal of the Year.

Lacey Sharp received the award at the association’s spring conference in April.

“She has made a difference in education and the lives of children by being compassionate, present and active, as she is involved in all aspects of the school day,” one of her colleagues said in a news release from the OSSA. “She leads fun and interactive school assemblies and community events … She has created a school family environment that all want to be a part of. She radiates joy and it is contagious to all who enter our building.”

Stanfield School District Superintendent Beth Burton said Sharp is the perfect person for the award.

“She exemplifies all of the traits anybody hopes they can find in a building principal,” Burton said. “She’s constantly growing and evolving. She is a ball of energy and she brings this positive light and energy into any room she enters. She is always excited to learn about people and get to know them and connect them with other people. She’s a good connector of people in that way.”

Burton said Sharp is “super passionate about student learning and growth,” and she has been able to use student data to make decisions to move forward.

Care is top priority

Sharp said the school’s vision is to care for the students.

“We believe it’s the responsibility of everybody to learn and grow,” Sharp said. “We want students to be engaged in their learning, even if it’s hard, and we want to teach students the skills and knowledge they will need to grow up in a world that’s always changing.”

Sharp began teaching in 2012 with a kindergarten class in Stanfield, and she made the transition to principal after five years in the classroom.

She was a 2004 graduate at Idaho State University.

“I chose to stay home and raise my four kids and then came back to teach,” she said.

Sharp said one of the challenges teachers face is students bring their outside stressors into the classroom.

“Not only are we trying to educate them academically, but we’re also trying to educate them socially and emotionally,” she said. “With all the outside influences, I also think there’s a lot of pressure on teachers to meet a high number of standards in a short amount of time with students, and sometimes that gap is large, and and teachers do their best every day to try and meet all those needs.”

Teachers need support

Sharp said parental support of education is vital.

“It’s such a difference maker to have parents who are on board and supporting what the teachers are doing during the day, just encouraging their kids to be at school every day,” she said. “We can’t do our jobs unless that happens.”

Burton said the Oregon Small Schools Association has long awarded the administrator of the year, but Sharp’s recognition was the first year of the award specifically for principals of small schools.

“There is a difference between superintendency and principalship,” Burton said.

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