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Wheeling Principal Dr. Lazaro Lopez Named Illinois Principal of the Year

Wed March 13 2013 4:34 pm
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Wheeling High School Principal Dr. Lazaro Lopez has been named Illinois High School Principal of the Year for 2013-14 by Horace Mann and the Illinois Principals Association. The award recognizes high school principals who have demonstrated a positive impact on their students and learning community.

Currently in his sixth year as principal, Lopez has led the effort to operationalize a “STEM for ALL” initiative at Wheeling High School. Under his leadership, students at all ability levels have access to 21st century skills such as problem solving, teamwork, scientific inquiry, technology and communication throughout the curriculum. During Lopez’s tenure as principal, Wheeling High School has recorded the highest ACT scores in the school’s history and an 80 percent growth in Advanced Placement participation while maintaining pass rates double the national average. Wheeling High School has received state and national recognition as a model STEM school from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, the International Technology and Engineering Education Association, Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation and the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Math, Science and Technology. U.S. News & World Report, the Washington Post, and Newsweek have each recognized Wheeling High School as one of “America’s Best High Schools.”

“High school principals serve students at a critical juncture of their learning and development,” said Executive Director Jason Leahy, Illinois Principals Association. “Lazaro Lopez is to be commended for his leadership and efforts to do what is best for his students.”

Lopez was selected from a pool of region nominees provided by the 21 Regions of the Illinois Principals Association.

Criteria for the award include:

Demonstrates positive impact on education and advocacy for children

Ensures the school climate is positive and reflects high staff and student morale

Demonstrates creativity and imagination in bringing about positive change

Willing to take risks to improve student learning

Moves actively to implement the goals and objectives of the school

Works collaboratively with teachers and other staff to improve the educational program and student achievement

Anticipates emerging problems and acts effectively to resolve them

Involves the community in the life of the school and uses community resources for students.

Lopez will be recognized at the IPA’s annual fall conference in October 2013 and will receive an honorarium. This award also affords him the opportunity to compete for the National High School Principal of the Year sponsored by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Horace Mann, the largest national multiline insurance company focusing on educators’ financial needs, was founded by educators for educators in 1945.

Visit for more information about the IPA Principal of the Year Awards Program

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