Brad Wilson: Washington State Principal of the Year
“Leadership is Helping Others Get Better”
Brad Wilson Helps Build Success at Chelan High School Name by Name
Evaluation Criteria: Creating a Culture; Ensuring School Safety; Planning with Data; Aligning Curriculum; Improving Instruction; Managing Resources; Engaging Families & Communities; Closing the Gap
Names matter.
Just ask Brad Wilson, principal of Chelan High School, Washington State’s 2022 Washington State Principal of the Year. Better yet, ask his students and staff. “He knows everybody’s name in this building – there’s over 400 kids in this building, plus all the adults. He knows everyone’s name and what grade they’re in – and can greet them by name,” said Lori Jenkins, an English teacher at Chelan HS. “He holds all of us to really high expectations and I feel like he’s a principal who wants to include everyone at our school. He’s always saying ‘hi’ to people in the hallways, which is great,” said Juliana Perez-Llamas, a junior at Chelan HS. “Every day, before school or between classes, he likes to make conversations with students, to let him know about our day,” added Grant Gogal, also a junior. “He likes to make sure you’re on time for a class – he’s really good at that!”
What sets him apart as a leader is the humanity he brings to the job. He’s just so caring, whether it’s his school, his students, the staff — he values everyone.
Wilson’s work ethic and positive attitude shine front and center, whether getting to the school extra early to make pots of coffee for everyone or announcing the high school football games.
It’s the cumulative impact of these small details that make Wilson a favorite, and an award-winning administrator. But he also does the work that helps foster a positive learning environment for kids, and a collaborative workplace for teachers and staff.
“In every aspect, Brad is very admirable and is just a great principal. I have so many great things to say about him but it’s mainly, like, he just does his job — he gets his job done,” said Amber Finch, a Chelan High ELL & leadership teacher. “Brad doesn’t micromanage us as staff but he does let us know that he’s supportive and that’ we’re free to explore and make decisions on our own.”
Associate Principal Scott Granger says Wilson is able to strike a balance between being data-driven and demanding positive results with putting students, staff, and community at the forefront of his leadership. One example: Increasing the number of dual credit and college in the high school opportunities and steadily increasing LatinX enrollment in these areas.
Chelan’s data speaks for itself, whether in the school’s inclusionary practices or LatinX freshman success rates.
Reflecting on Wilson’s leadership, Chelan Superintendent Barry DePaoli says it’s hard to just pinpoint one quality that makes the Chelan High leader stand out.
“What sets him apart as a leader is the humanity he brings to the job. He’s just so caring, whether it’s his school, his students, the staff — he values everyone,” said DePaoli. “What makes Brad an incredible leader I think is the impact that his leadership has. So because of the way he approaches his The plan is working: Chelan High is making great strides in those areas, with LatinX students making up half the enrollment in Running Start classes, Dual Credit, and College in the High School options. Discipline rates at the high school are trending down while attendance and graduation rates rise. The school has also added a Chicano Studies class and additional college-level courses based on community and student feedback.
“I think leadership really is all about helping others get better,” said Wilson. “So from our students, that’s just making sure they have opportunities to grow, as learners and as people. And that our staff has the opportunity to grow and get better in the way we’re serving students and helping them try to reach their full potential.”
Under Wilson’s collaborative and empowering leadership, the staff works very intentionally to make sure all students feel like they have a school where they belong and are cared for. Chelan High School values the whole student. Adults and students alike are challenged to fulfill the Chelan Way and BE MORE (Motivated, Open-Minded, Respectful, and Engaged). work, things get done. People want to follow Brad,” he said.
“The community knows that he truly cares about his students and that they provide the best opportunity they can for all students. I think the community really respects that.”
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Washington Principal | Volume 3 – 2021-22