But for Sullivan Middle School principal Michael Waiksnis, those were exactly the marching orders Tuesday from district officials.
Waiksnis, surrounded by his family and colleagues, learned he was the 2013-14 S.C. Association of School Administrators Middle School Principal of the Year during a surprise party in the school’s media center.
“I”m very excited. I know we have a lot of great school leaders in South Carolina so I’m honored. It’s really a great testament to the staff, the teachers and the leadership here,” Waiksnis said.
Waiksnis said he was completely unaware of the award, but submitted an application for the program this fall.
“Part of the application process was really a big reflective piece,” Waiksnis said. “It made me put everything in one place — all the services and opportunities we provide for our students.”
SCASA Executive Director Molly Spearman said Waiksnis’ approach to education made him stand out among his peers.
“What the judges are looking for is the impact the principal has made on his or her school,” Spearman said. “Number one is student achievement — being involved in the success of every student. And Michael does that.”
Spearman categorized Waiksnis as a “strong organizational leader” and praised his grasp of technology.
“Michael really is on the cutting edge of new ideas and new technologies… He is very involved in teaching other principals [about it].”
As a result of Tuesday’s award, Waiksnis will be entered in the National Association of School Administrators Principal of the Year process. That individual will be named in 2014.