Lisa Pica is passionate about education and works hard for the kids at Hayden Meadows Elementary School. She juggles a lot of responsibilities while doing everything she can to bring people together. Her friends, family, coworkers and staff all know this, and now so does the entire nation.
Pica is traveling to Washington, D.C., next week to receive the National Distinguished Principal of the Year award for Idaho. The award, bestowed by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, is given to one elementary or middle school principal in each state.
Pica found out last November that a long-time colleague of hers had nominated her for the award. Not only that, but the district’s superintendent, Matt Handelman, some of her staff, parents of students and other community members had all written letters of recommendation for her.
“Lisa Pica is a model of professionalism and leading with vision with a drive to continual improvement,” Handelman wrote in his letter of recommendation. “She is without a doubt deserving of recognition as Idaho’s nominee for National Distinguished Principal.”
“I was incredibly honored,” Pica told The Press. “I work with amazing people and to even be considered was very humbling because I know the quality that’s out there.”
After the nomination, Pica sent in a packet to the association detailing how her school operates and her philosophy as an educator and administrator.
Then, in February, she sat down for a Skype interview with a panel from the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
As intimidating as it was, Pica said she had a chance to praise the people who have been influential in her career and reflect on her career as a whole. She also talked about how she approaches problems and what her opinions are on new policies.
She said she spoke a lot about the value of shared leadership and building on the strengths of the people she works with.
A few days later, she received a phone call that she had been chosen to receive the award.
She will join the other National Distinguished Principals from other states in Washington, D.C., to accept the award.
“It’s been a valuable experience,” she said. “I got to do a lot of reflection on my whole career and why I do what I do. Reflection is important to every educator because it helps us become better at our craft.”