Paul L. Vickers is Named 2009 Principal of the Year
Paul L. Vickers, the principal of Mill Run Elementary, is the 2009 recipient of The Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award for Loudoun County.
This award also goes to Loudoun County’s Principal of the Year.
“During the past eight years, I have come to know Paul Vickers first as a parent, then as a member of the PTO board, as his parent liaison, and now as a member of his staff,” wrote Laura Ikegami Warner, a technology assistant at Mill Run. “With each new relationship, I have seen more and more of Mr. Vickers in action and have gained new perspective of him as a leader. I have seen his great spirit as he helped to raise Mill Run Elementary from an empty building plunked down in the middle of farmland to a place of learning where children and their families eagerly fill the hallways on school nights to spend more time with their teachers and with each other.”
Mill Run’s Second Grade Team wrote the following about Vickers in their nomination letter:
“Paul never asks his teachers or students to do something that he himself isn’t willing to do first or do harder. From the International Family Festival to Movie Night, from Tales by Twilight to staff sports games, from the Book Character Parade to Run for Fun, Paul is the first to help plan, raise support and lead attendance. He is committed to making Mill Run a place where learning does not end with the dismissal bell.”
Several of the nomination letters spoke to Vickers’ involvement with his students and their families outside of school.
“We had an unfortunate fire at our home in the fall of 2005,” wrote parents Jamie and Sue O’Brien. “Mr. Vickers was on site and offering his support before the fire was even out. He helped coordinate the efforts to help our kids cope, not only on that tough day, but also throughout the remainder of the year and to this very day. Our kids had a tremendous upheaval in their lives, but he ensured that school was going to be there to continue the nurturing each and every day. What he did for our family is what a leader in the community does. He made sure the Mill Run community came together with overwhelming and heartfelt support.”
Tolbert Elementary Principal Elaine M. Layman, who worked for Vickers as both a teacher and assistant principal, wrote this about him: “Paul taught me by example that the principal is someone who shows respect by his demeanor and appearance. The effective principal must maintain an unwavering focus on the students and their needs. It is the principal’s responsibility to create an environment of respect, safety, comfort and success. Just as students learn from an excellent teacher, the principal is a role model. Paul Vickers serves as a model by knowing the students in his care and by showing them who he is as an educator and a person.”
Mill Run’s resource teachers (John Cornely, Susan Curcio, Pam Daniel and Kerry Lennon) wrote this about Vickers in their nomination packet:
“Paul likes to develop and continue strong personal relationships with his staff. He takes the time to get to know each staff member on a professional and personal level, which makes us feel extremely valued and important, creating a feeling of family. If there is ever a concern or question by an adult in our building, he is quick to listen and provide feedback that will benefit both yourself and those involved. In addition, he is very open to suggestions from teachers on how our school can continue to improve and will often include these ideas as part of our school’s improvement plan. By allowing us to feel individually heard, and by trusting the teachers to be creative with their instruction, our school’s morale is always high.”
Mill Run’s First Grade Team wrote this about Vickers in its nomination letter:
“As an administrator, Mr. Vickers has not lost touch with his roots as an elementary school teacher. In addition to his formal observations of staff members, Mr. Vickers makes it a point to drop in to check on the students of Mill Run from time to time. At the beginning of each school year, Mr. Vickers personally comes into each classroom to introduce himself to the students and wish them well with their new class and teacher. In addition to this, Mr. Vickers visits classrooms often to be a guest reader or to give ‘pep talks’ to encourage positive behavior, even offering his company during the children’s lunchtime as a reward for staying on track. Despite his demanding schedule, Mr. Vickers remains involved in the classrooms of Mill Run.”
A 1985 graduate of Virginia Tech, Vickers began his educational career as a kindergarten teacher at Vienna Elementary School in Vienna. In 1987, he joined the faculty of the newly opened Armstrong Elementary as a fifth grade teacher. During his four years at Armstrong, Vickers obtained a master’s degree in administration and supervisory theory from George Mason University.
Vickers came to Loudoun County Public Schools in 1991 as an assistant principal at Catoctin Elementary School. In 1995, he helped open Potowmack Elementary as its assistant principal. In 1997, Vickers became the principal of Waterford Elementary.
He became the first principal of Mill Run Elementary School in 2000. Mill Run had only 486 students during its first year, but reached its 800-student capacity within three years. In 2004, the school ran on two campuses with a satellite campus at the adjacent Eagle Ridge Middle School.
For the 2008-2009 school year, Mill Run has an official enrollment of 875.
Past recipients of The Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award include:
· Mary Lee Phelps, Middleburg Elementary (1986)
· Bernice M. Nicewicz, Sugarland Elementary (1987)
· William L. Whitmore Jr., Leesburg Elementary (1988)
· Frances R. Fera, J. Lupton Simpson Middle School (1989)
· Terrence W. Hill, Sterling Middle School (1990)
· Dennis A. Young, Meadowland Elementary (1991)
· Kenneth W. Culbert, Loudoun Valley High School (1992)
· Michael A. Megeath, C.S. Monroe Technology Center (1993)
· Ronald E. Dyer, Sterling Elementary (1994)
· James E. Person, Park View High School (1996)
· Mary B. Morris, Cool Spring Elementary (1997)
· Wayne C. Mills, Rolling Ridge Elementary (1998)
· Charles J. Haydt, Sterling Middle School (1999)
· Laurie C. McDonald, Lowes Island Elementary (2000)
· Nancy E. McManus, Cedar Lane Elementary (2001)
· Dr. Virginia M. Minshew, Farmwell Station Middle School (2002)
· Dr. Edgar T. Markley, Broad Run High School (2003)
· Dr. Susan P. Browning, Seldens Landing Elementary (2004)
· Dr. Jack Robinson , Douglass School (2005)
· Margaret Huckaby, Heritage High School (2006)
· Eric L. Stewart, Smart’s Mill Middle School (2007)*