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Ferrua EPOY.2019

Kourtney Ferrua named Oregon Elementary School Principal of the Year
Posted on 04/12/2019

Kourtney Ferrua, principal of Wascher Elementary in the McMinnville School District, has been named Oregon Elementary Principal of the Year by the Oregon Elementary Principals Association (OESPA) and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) in recognition of her outstanding school leadership. 

The honor was announced today by Craig Hawkins (pictured), executive director of COSA.  

“From visiting homes of students to pioneering a personalized summer reading program to inspiring her staff to build a learning environment that balances the hearts and minds of the students, Kourtney has consistently led her school to greater accomplishments,” said Dr. Maryalice Russell, superintendent of the McMinnville School District. “Her persistent advocacy for her students and her staff illustrates the power of high expectations that can result in high achievement.”

Under her leadership and her “relentless belief that every child has an unlimited capacity to learn," Wascher has experienced phenomenal growth over the last five years.  As measured by state assessments, Wascher has moved from an underperforming school to one in which students achieve significantly above state average for students with similar demographic characteristics.

A rural school with 434 students, Wascher serves approximates 64 percent economically disadvantaged students and comprises 33 percent Latino, 26 percent English learners, 15 percent students with disabilities, and 85 percent of students with parents who do not have a college degree.

Despite these challenging demographics, Ferrua has led her team of educators to transform Wascher into to one of the highest performing, high-poverty elementary schools in the state by changing focus, aligning resources and working smarter.

Under Ferrua's leadership, Wascher staff has committed to a systematic process that links standards, instruction and assessments, including research-based instructional strategies, common formative assessments, twice-monthly data teams, and rigorous curriculum design.

She has established a common instructional language at Wascher, which has created a system to increase student achievement and accelerate academic growth by using data diagnostically, examining student errors, and identifying the instructional strategies that align to an individual student's needs.

Ferrua and her team hold students to high expectations. They teach young learners to adopt a growth mindset, building resilient, positive and persevering learners. Ferrua has also developed and sustained a caring, welcoming and equitable school culture and climate.

Ferrua has been the principal of Wascher Elementary School for five years. She has served as a classroom teacher and instructional coach as well as a certified trainer in professional development in Power Strategies for Effective Teaching, Data Teams, and Constructing Meaning. She is currently engaged in intensive professional development focused on trauma-informed teaching and learning. She and her team of teacher-leaders were selected to present at the 2018 National Model Schools Conference.

Ferrua is a McMinnville native who attended public schools in the district and graduated from McMinnville High School, Ferrua began her career with the district in 2007 after earning a Bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco and a Master’s from the University of Portland.

She will be honored at the annual Confederation of Oregon School Administrators conference in Seaside in June and the National Principals Conference in July.

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