Lee FlemingHow do you recognize someone who does her best to avoid attention? This year we found out when we presented the second annual Susan Schilling Award to Paula Hanzel, principal of Sacramento New Technology High School! Typical of the servant leadership for which she was awarded, it was near impossible to find a picture of Paula on her own school website whose focus is intentionally on students and their success. As a former member of her teaching staff, I know that Paula’s desire to put the spotlight on everyone but herself…and it was an honor for me to work with Monica to recognize Paula at our celebration banquet. The Schilling Award was developed by KWF to award a leader in the NT network for entrepreneurial spirit, sustainable change, and local impact. Paula was one of many quality candidates but was selected for the depth of the imprint she has left as she has played a key role as mentor and trainer for nearly 60 principals in the New Tech Network. The participants in the conference were visibly moved by her acceptance speech and her focus on the power of one individual to make a difference in the lives of children. A teacher came up to me after the banquet and said “Please tell Paula I cried because of her speech I was so inspired, now I want to go back and refocus our school on what we need to do for kids.” So even in her recognition she put the spotlight on the students—which is why she continues to be an inspiration to everyone around her.
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