Principal honored for outstanding contributions to education

PLATTSBURGH - Carrie Zales, principal at the Oak Street Elementary School in the Plattsburgh City School District and former principal at AuSable Valley Central School, has been named the 2009 recipient of the T. Walsh McQuillan Award by the School Administrators Association of New York State.

The award is given annually in honor of the former educator T. Walsh McQuillan to a SAANYS member and administrator who has strong leadership skills and has made exceptional contributions to elementary education. McQuillan served the children and educational leaders of New York State throughout his life and was the fist person to serve in joint capacity as executive secretary to the predecessors of SAANYS and was an outstanding contributor to elementary education throughout his career.

In accordance with the qualifications for this award, Zales has demonstrated excellent leadership skills.

"I have watched Carrie grow from a student, to a student teacher, to a teacher, to an administrator. She has made me proud," stated SAANYS Region 7 representative Joanna Valente Orr. "Her work as a member of SAANYS Government Relations Committee is well-respected."

Zales, who previously served as principal of the AuSable Valley Central School District's middle school, is an active member of SAANYS and has served on the Government Relations Committee for six years. In addition, she is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and Omicron Delta Kappa, a leadership honor society. Zales has served as councilperson for the town of Chazy and on the board of directors for the Plattsburgh State Alumni Association. Among her honors was her selection as ODK's National Leader of the Year in 1995.

"An administrator is a catalyst for change - responsible for providing opportunities for school communities to grow programmatically and experientially," Zales said of her educational philosophy. "Ensuring that all decisions are made with the best interest of students in mind and based on data are a priority."

Zales will be recognized for her achievements at an awards ceremony Friday, May 1, at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs.

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