Washington Elementary School Principal Wayne Denault was named regional Principal of the Year by the North Dakota Association of Elementary School Principals.
More than just an administrator at Washington, Denault wears a lot of hats. He is the Title I coordinator for the Valley City Public School district and the AdvancED school improvement coordinator for the district.
Denault was nominated for the award by his NDAESP peers on the basis of nine criteria, some of which include; the school is committed to excellence, parents and local organizations are tied to the school community, respected by students, colleagues, parents and community members, active role in community and sets high expectations for school staff, students and themselves.
“I was not expecting it (the award),” said Denault. When he got the call from another principal to say he had won, “I was quite surprised.”
Denault, who has been principal at Washington for 14 years, cites some of Washington Elementary School’s achievements during his tenure as: a veterans’ program to honor area military veterans and service members including police and firefighters; an art program that includes a full-time art teacher; an accelerated reader program, funded by the community, that gives students incentives to read; a fresh fruit and vegetable program that introduces students to a variety of produce; and a school garden that involves members of the student council planting and harvesting edible soybeans.
Denault is particularly proud of the school’s academic achievements and its participation in the AdvanceED program.
For the past several years, standardized tests in math and reading have been consistently high, and climbed every year. In the 2009-2010 school year the school’s composite reading score was 91.74 and in the 2012-2013 school year the composite score in reading was 93. In math, the 2009-2010 composite score was 92.66 while in 2011-2012 the composite math score was 95-plus.
The AdvanceED is an organization dedicated to school improvement. In fact, according to Denault, the school district is currently preparing for an AdvancED visit in April during which school administration, staff and parents will learn what steps are needed to improve the Valley City Public Schools.
It’s the staff, parents and community that he believes he owes credit for his award.
“The principal gets the award and the recognition,” Denault said. “But it’s recognizing the accomplishments that are taking place in the building, but these accomplishments can’t happen unless it’s a team effort by all the staff, students, the superintendent and the school board, parents and the community.
“Really, the award is recognizing what’s going on in the school, and I’m just part of it.”
Denault is married to Carol, a special education teacher at Jefferson Elementary School and the couple has five children and eight grandchildren.
He likes to fish, read, garden and travel to visit his family when he has free time.