Napa Valley RegisterNapa Junction Elementary School Principal Donna Drago was honored last month for her leadership at the New Tech Network’s national conference in St. Louis.Drago was presented with the Susan Schilling Legacy Award, making her the first elementary school principal to receive this New Tech Network honor since its creation in 2009, according to an NTN press release.Lydia Dobyns, NTN president and CEO, said Drago was chosen for the award because of “her exemplary leadership in helping her school meet the needs of every student.”“Donna is the first elementary principal to receive this award,” said Dobyns. Previous winners of the Susan Schilling Legacy Award were either high school level or other NTN educational leaders.“Her dedication, ability to lead school-wide innovation, and the caring and rigorous learning environment she has created to support student success is inspiring,” Dobyns added.The award was established in the name of Susan Schilling, former New Technology Foundation CEO, to recognize educational entrepreneurs for their leadership and contributions to New Tech innovation and sustainability.Drago was presented with the award before more than 1,500 educators representing 170 elementary, middle and high schools nationwide at the July 6-10 conference. She said she was “honored to receive this award, which represents all that we as educators strive to achieve.”“This award is truly made possible by all of the passionate teachers that are making a difference in students’ lives,” said Drago, who invited 10 members of her staff up on stage to share in the honor.Drago was complimented by NTN Chief Learning Officer Megan Pacheco, who said the longtime principal “is always adapting to better serve the needs of her students and adult learners.”“One of her goals was to ensure the adult learning culture mirrors the student learning culture,” said Pacheco. “To this end, student-set goals are made public and every teacher participates in a committee dedicated to their school-wide focus.”Drago has been an elementary school principal for more than 20 years, including the past eight years at Napa Junction Elementary.Her school was honored late last year when NTN deemed it a National Demonstration Site. The decision was based, “in great part” on Drago’s leadership, according to NTN.As a demonstration site, Napa Junction Elementary hosts tours for national, state and local schools and districts that want to learn about the New Tech model, which incorporates technology as well as Project Based Learning in its curriculum.
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