Missouri JEA.

2018 Administrator of the Year

Administrator of the Year: Dr. Karen Calcaterra of Lafayette HS

Nominator Nancy Smith had this to say:

“In the days right before school started, Dr. Calcaterra met with my editors at their request so they could talk with her about our programs and introduce themselves to her so she would know who to contact if she had concerns etc. They came back from that meeting with huge grins. They felt respected and appreciated for the role they play in the school. They were stunned that she asked what they thought about some of the changes she was planning in some policies. She asked them what she could do to better support them in their work. It was refreshing to say the least. And, it wasn’t just lip service.

Dr. Calcaterra faced many challenges right from the start of the year. We had new science classrooms that weren’t ready for students until literally the day before school started. The fire alarm went off the first day of school. She granted interviews with a smile in those cases right in the middle of the events as they unfolded.

Her stance on student media was established very early on in the year when a group of students organized a Week of Protest and the newspaper staff covered it online and in social media. Some of the week’s events were tense and there were some very concerned parents who, among other things, were angry that student journalists were reporting the incidents. She defended the right of the student journalists emphatically and was outspoken in her defense of the student right to cover all aspects of the events. She has let my students swab her phone to test for gross bacteria. She provided a childhood photo of herself in her figure skating outfit for their Winter Olympics coverage. She comes into the media lab and has real conversations with the students about issues around school.

Though many administrators have a long history of support for student journalism, I think it is extraordinarily impressive that in her first year as the building principal Dr. Calcaterra made it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that she supports and encourages student voice. I have had many opportunities to nominate someone for a recognition like this, but this is the first time I have. That also speaks volumes about Dr. Calcaterra.”

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2018 Administrator of the Year