Palmer principal named 2022 Alaska Principal of the Year

Mary Fulp, principal of Colony Middle School in Palmer, is the 2022 Alaska Principal of the Year. (Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals)

A Matanuska-Susitna Borough principal on Tuesday was named the 2022 Alaska Principal of the Year.

Mary Fulp is principal of Colony Middle School in Palmer. She grew up in Kodiak and received her bachelor’s in education and her master’s in educational leadership at the University of Alaska Anchorage. 

Fulp worked in Anchorage, Kotzebue and Chevak before joining the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District 17 years ago. She said her experience working around Alaska makes the statewide award even more meaningful.

“To me, it just feels so incredibly special because my life’s work has been committed to all of Alaska for so long,” she said.

Fulp said this has been the most challenging and most rewarding school year of her career. She said creating a positive environment for middle schoolers is vital. 

“Students are showing up to us with lots of gaps in their learning,” she said. “There’s a mental health concern that’s growing with young people. And so my goal is to create an environment based on unity and love.”

That ability to create a positive environment stands out to Mat-Su Superintendent Randy Trani. He said Fulp is one of the best administrators he’s ever known.

“She blends this power of being their advocate and their mentor all at the same time, which is what middle school students need more than anybody,” he said.

The Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals gives regional and statewide Principal of the Year awards. Candidates can be nominated by students, staff, parents, district office staff or fellow principals. Association members vote on the final awards. Fulp and the regional winners will be recognized at the Alaska Principals’ Conference in Anchorage on Oct. 14 and 15.

Fulp will also be submitted for the National Principal of the Year award. Finalists for that award will be announced in July. She’ll represent Alaska at the National Association of Secondary School Principals Institute in Washington, D.C., in September.

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