One day, it’s a hot pink wig or a flowing boa.
On another, principal Terri Fisher may be sporting a cheetah costume, her “Fancy Nancy” getup or Dr. Suess inspired duds.
On Tuesday, Idaho Association of School Administrators leaders honored Fisher as the organization’s Elementary Gem Award Winner/ Outstanding Rookie Administrator.
Fisher, the outgoing principal of Gooding Elementary, was nominated for the award by former Superintendent Heather Williams. The Mississippi native was honored for her first two years of service at Gooding Elementary. She has been in education for 18 years and has also taught at the elementary level in Wendell and Jerome.
Peers lauded Fisher for her organization – helping lead and enhance teacher collaboration time and teamwork through professional learning communities. They also highlighted her devotion to students and the ability she has to bring levity to students’ lives by dressing up or scheduling a celebration at just the right time.
Fisher said the crazy costumes aren’t an everyday occurrence. Instead, she saves her wildest creations for student victories, both large and small.
If the students meet their reading goal, are participating in school spirit assembly or did well on a fundraiser, then they might be in for a surprise.
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“If it takes you dressing up, wearing wig and a tutu to make a connection with kids and to show you care about them and what’s happening in their lives, I’ll do whatever it takes,” Fisher said. “It’s an opportunity to let loose, and be wild and a little crazy.”
Last year, with a encouragement from teachers, Fisher even let the staff dress up for Halloween – as long as certain standards were followed.
“It may be a small interruption to classroom and instruction time, but it’s worth while,” Fisher said. “In the long run, you’re making an investment in kids’ future and their academic success.”
Rob Winslow, the IASA’s executive director, said the awards given out Tuesday are sort of like the Oscars for school administrators and leaders. Recipients were nominated by their colleagues and selected based on merit by a group of their peers.
“As an association, one of our big functions is to recognize excellence,” Winslow said.
This school year, Fisher is embarking on a new challenge. She is serving as the new principal at Jerome School District’s Horizon Elementary. Fisher said the decision was extremely difficult. She loves the students and staff in Gooding, but the move allows her to return to Horizon, where she previously taught third grade and intervention programs. It’s also a chance to reconnect with her old staff, and follow the example set by one of her mentors, former Horizon principal Teresa Jones.
So, might the Jerome’s Horizon Elementary students get a chance to see the wilder side of Fisher?
If they meet their goals, there is a pretty good chance.
“I’m taking the wigs and boas and some other odd things with me,” Fisher said.
Other IASA winners honored Tuesday include:
- Superintendent of the Year: Charles Shackett, Bonneville School District.
- Distinguished Leadership Award: Randy Schrader, Garden Valley School District.
- Elementary Gem Award, rookie administrator: Terri Fisher, Gooding Elementary School.
- Idaho Association of Special Education Administrators Distinguished Service Award: Karen Smucker, program director, special education: graduate studies in education, Northwest Nazarene University.
- Outstanding Secondary Principal, Middle Level: Andy Wiseman, superintendent/principal Castleford schools.
- Outstanding Secondary Principal, Assistant Principal: Tom Albertson, Sandpoint High School.
- Idaho Elementary Distinguished Principal: Anna Marie Wilson, Ramsey Magnet School of Science, Coeur d’Alene.
- Elementary Gem Award, Instructional Leadership: Lisa Pica, Hayden Meadows Elementary.
- Outstanding Secondary Principal, High School Level: Jared Jenks, Sugar Salem High School.
- Outstanding Special Education Administrator: Cathy Thornton, West Ada District.
- IASA Distinguished Service Awards:
- Dale Kleinert, director AdvancED.
- Dewayne Hodges and Gayle Hodges, Rigby Idaho Lions Club.
- Sen. John Goedde.
- Patti O’Dell, Twin Falls School District.
- IASA Leadership in Idaho by Friends of Education: Anna Scholes, volunteer at O’Leary Middle School, Twin Falls.
- Education Media Award: Kevin Richert, Idaho Education News.
Our feature on Bonneville Superintendent Chuck Shackett, IASA’s Superintendent of the Year.
Our profile of retired Garden Valley Superintendent Randy Schrader, IASA’s Distinguished Leadership Award recipient.