Washington Elementary Principal Dana Carlson has been named the Fargo Public School District 2014 Administrator of the Year. Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Schatz made the surprise announcement and award presentation at an assembly in the Washington Elementary School gymnasium on Monday afternoon to all students, staff, and several invited guests.
An alumnus of St. John’s University (Minnesota) and NDSU, Carlson began his employment with the Fargo Public School District in 2008, as principal of Clara Barton-Hawthorne Elementary School. He became the principal at Washington Elementary in 2011. Carlson began his educational career in Jamestown, ND, first as a classroom teacher and coach, then education coordinator, and as an elementary school principal from 1995 to 2007.
Dana Carlson’s selection for Administrator of the Year was based on many glowing letters of recommendation that all highlight Carlson’s exemplary attitudes and behaviors as a leader and advocate for education.
Carlson is described as a positive and visionary leader, one who is team-oriented, upbeat, insightful, filled with integrity, and dedicated to building relationships of trust and mutual respect. He can often be heard saying, “Good work, partner!” to his Washington staff, as he truly considers each staff member a partner in delivering quality educational experiences in a caring environment to students. Comments on Carlson’s leadership style included phrases such as: “Everyone feels valued and listened to.” “He has created a unified vision for our entire school.” A former Fargo Public Schools superintendent said of Carlson, “He is one of our aces.”
Parents and staff members tell how through Carlson’s leadership, the teachers, parents, and students have become a “Washington family.” The beliefs of the school are displayed throughout the building and all aspire to live up to them, promoting a positive environment. Carlson visits classrooms to read stories, teach lessons, and greet students. He can often be found eating his lunch with the students. He writes thank you notes to students and staff “caught” modeling good behavior and congratulatory notes for achievements. He is an involved and approachable administrator, focused on the success of all. One of the Washington teachers shared, “I firmly believe that we will accomplish many great things under Dana Carlson’s guidance.”
Washington Elementary Principal Dana Carlson, Fargo Public School District’s 2014 Administrator of the Year Award recipient, makes a real and positive difference in the lives of the students, families, and staff at Washington Elementary School and the Fargo Public School District.
This is the first time the “Administrator of the Year” award has been given. Moving forward, the honor will become an award regularly bestowed as part of the District’s annual Staff Recognition Program. The District also annually recognizes “Support Staff of the Year” and a “Teacher of the Year” as part of this program. Robert Wilson, South High School proctor, was recently named 2014 Support Staff of the Year; Roosevelt Elementary teacher Wendy O’Meara was recently named the District’s 2014 Teacher of the Year.