Abrams principal named Principal of the Year for CO
Last updated 4/6/2021 at 2:01pm | View PDF
Fountain-Fort Carson School District Principal Named 2021 Principal of the Year for Colorado Elementary Schools
The Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) and the Colorado Association of Elementary School Principals (CAESP) are proud to announce that Abrams Elementary School principal, Lois Skaggs, has been named the 2021 National Distinguished Principal of the Year for Colorado. She was selected through a competitive process, led by a committee of her peers and former winners.
"Lois is a shining example of the profound impact a principal can have on a school," said CASE Executive Director Bret Miles. "In her seven years at Abrams Elementary, she's created a culture of empowerment and positivity, and the impact is clear; student achievement is excellent, and the school community is thriving. All of us at CASE are thrilled to honor her and her accomplishments."
Skaggs has been a school principal for 15 years, but her career in education began in 1997 as a special education teacher. Throughout the way, proactivity to address diverse learning needs, a special aptitude for coaching and a commitment to the emotional needs of staff, students and community have helped her grow into a highly effective and beloved leader. In fact, in her first four years at Abrams Elementary, those practices helped her skyrocket the school to become one of the highest achieving in the Fountain-Fort Carson School District, eventually earning a National Distinguished School Award in 2018 - an enormous improvement, given that Abrams Elementary was the lowest-achieving school in the district, and at risk of becoming a turnaround priority school when she first started in 2014.
In addition to her huge academic impact, Skaggs turned building culture around completely. She engaged her staff in the Capturing Kids Hearts training in 2016, shifting a siloed culture into one laser-focused on student growth and empowerment. Teacher buy-in is improved, relationships between staff and students have strengthened and parent involvement has increased.
"Through intensive training and a commitment to building relationships, first with students, then with parents, our teachers moved the bar," Skaggs said. "Our staff doesn't just believe that our students are highly capable, they know that our students are highly capable and willing to engage in thoughtful work."
For Skaggs, being named Principal of the Year is not about herself - it's about "what a group of individuals who work together with a common purpose can achieve."
"Our belief at Abrams Elementary School is that our students are all highly capable, and when we set the bar high, and provide the necessary supports, no goal is too big. I have always believed that the most important part of education lies in the relationships that we build with our communities, our students and among staff members. When we unite with a common purpose and belief, we can do the hard work necessary and our students benefit," she said. "I am honored to receive this recognition and to represent Fountain-Fort Carson District 8, Abrams Elementary School, and the state of Colorado."
Skaggs will be honored at a school event, and this summer at the 2021 CASE Awards Reception. She will also be recognized at the National Association of Elementary School Principals conference this July in Chicago.
"I am so proud of her and all that she has accomplished," FFC8 Superintendent Dr. Keith Owen said in an announcement to the school and its families last week. "She is going into her seventh year in this role. I know she's been a tremendous support of you, your students and parents, and leading an effort that you all have undertaken to improve academics and culture at Abrams. Lois will be a fantastic representative of FFC8 and Colorado."
Owen noted that in 2020 Assistant Principal Rochelle Williams was named 2019-2020 National Assistant Principal of the Year for Colorado by CASE and CAESP, making the school's leadership team quite the accomplished pair.
The Colorado Association of School Executives (www.co-case.org) is the preeminent professional association for public school administrators in Colorado. The organization's mission is to empower Colorado education leaders through advocacy, professional learning and networking to deliver on the promise of public education.