Shenendehowa Administrator Honored with State Award

Related Media

Kristen Lennon-McMahan

ALBANY, NY (03/26/2020) (readMedia)-- Kristen Lennon-McMahan, assistant principal at Shenendehowa High School West in the Shenendehowa Central School District, has been selected as the 2020 New York State Assistant Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS). This award is given annually by SAANYS and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to a middle or high school assistant principal who has set the pace, character, and quality of education for the students 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.

Lennon-McMahan has been an educator in the Shenendehowa school district since 2005, with the last eight years serving as assistant principal of Shenendehowa High School West. She is known as an administrator who is passionate about helping her students grow into empathetic young adults. To that end, Lennon-McMahan developed a school-wide event known as "Day of Acceptance" where students, staff, and faculty participate in three hour-long programs. She notes that "the goal behind each day was for students to recognize and respect differences. We really aimed to include every child and adult in our building to make it an inclusive activity." Commented student, Nuyanha Owens, "She is always there when I need her to be. That is one thing that is absolutely wonderful about her. That also applies to my fellow students as well."

Lennon-McMahan has also worked to provide cultural responsiveness training called, "The Art of Understanding Our Students" for staff and faculty, which has recently been implemented district-wide. Over the course of two years, close to 70 faculty and staff have been trained to become facilitators for the program. Commented Principal Ron Agostinoni, "Kristen understands the value and necessity of a positive culture where all stakeholders have opportunities for input. Her focus is not only to provide input, but to also empower those around her to make sustainable and systematic positive changes." Associate Principal Michael Gutchell notes, "I whole heartedly cannot think of anyone else more deserving of this honor as she possesses a great deal of pedagogical and adolescent social-emotional knowledge, along with a tireless work ethic."

Lennon-McMahan received a bachelor's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from SUNY Oneonta, a master's degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from SUNY Albany, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from the College of St. Rose.

Lennon-McMahan will be honored for her accomplishments at an awards ceremony at a later date. As the NYS Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year, Lennon-McMahan is now a candidate for the award of National Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year, an award sponsored by NASSP.

SAANYS represents nearly 8,000 school administrators, supervisors, and coordinators. As a professional association, SAANYS is committed to providing direction, service, and support to the membership in their efforts to improve the quality of education and leadership in New York State schools. SAANYS is affiliated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).