Port Jervis CSD Assistant Principal Named Elementary Assistant Principal of the Year

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Nicole Ey

ALBANY, NY (03/31/2017) (readMedia)-- Nicole Ey, assistant principal at Anna S. Kuhl (ASK) Elementary School in the Port Jervis City School District, has been selected as the 2017 New York State Elementary Assistant Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). This award is given annually to a member of SAANYS and NAESP who has set the pace, character, and quality of education for the children in his or her school. Nominees are administrators who are committed to students, parents, and the community and have shown exceptional contributions to the educational process.

An administrator in a school facing challenges due to a merger within the district, as well as frequent staff turnover, Ey is credited with leading the effort to turn around the morale at the school by strengthening communication among all stakeholders and implementing a positivity and character program called "Doing Things the Right Way." Ey noted, "Since its implementation in 2012, close to 7,000 certificates have been presented to students earning 'Doing Things the Right Way' awards. Staff recognized my commitment to improving important components of school life and discipline referrals fell from 1,011 in 2013-14, to 652 in 2015-16." Attendance at the school has also improved, currently standing at more than 96 percent. Commented parent Tanya Duryea, "The climate of ASK and the sense of community was indeed healthy and allowed my girls to thrive. I know the sense of community, trust, and excitement was a direct result of [Ey's] positive strategies and the countless hours she stayed at the school. She certainly made an extraordinary difference in the lives of so many children in Port Jervis."

Needing to address overcrowding at the school, Ey also spearheaded the revitalization of a little used (and often neglected) courtyard space into a vibrant outdoor learning classroom. She secured a grant from Lowes, and spent a summer organizing community volunteers and other donations. The space has become a popular venue for regular instruction and special events. The district high school has since created their own outdoor space, modeled after this one, and a neighboring district is considering replicating the idea as well. Commented colleague Andrea Rearer, "One of her most amazing endeavors is the outdoor classroom. She won her grant proposal and months of organization and tireless hours of work have resulted in a fabulous space for staff and students to embrace learning in a place that is inviting and peaceful. Her generous and kind nature inspires staff and community members to collaborate as a team to achieve goals. This is true leadership."

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Bongiovi remarked, "I have been in education for 29 years and have had the honor of working and collaborating with some of the finest professionals in New York State. I can say without hesitation that Nicole Ey is one of the top educators that I have ever had the pleasure of working with."

Ey received her bachelors degree from SUNY Oswego, her master of special education degree from Mount Saint Mary College, and her certificate of advanced studies C.W. Post/Long Island University.

Ey will be honored for her accomplishments at an awards ceremony on May 5 at the Century House in Latham, New York. As New York's Elementary Assistant Principal of the Year, Ey will be celebrated as a National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.