The decision was made by a panel of principals representing the Washington Association of Secondary School Principals (WASSP), a component of the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP).
Wynkoop was surprised with the award during a TPEP staff meeting on April 23, attended by AWSP Executive Director Gary Kipp and AWSP Director of High School Programs Scott Seaman.
Wynkoop’s connection to Ballard High School has been lifelong, both professionally and as a student. When he came to BHS as assistant principal in 2005 he was already part of the community as a third generation BHS graduate.
Wynkoop took over as principal in 2010 with the goal of making all families, no matter their socio-economic status or culture, feel the special connection to the school that he feels. To make this goal a reality Wynkoop worked with Ballard High’s alumni association, the Ballard Foundation, to strengthen support of struggling students.
To increase and strengthen support for all students Wynkoop created the GAINS Program (Graduation Assistance Identifying the Needs of Students) that was funded by the Foundation. “The program is in its second year and making a difference in the lives of students that might have been otherwise forgotten,” says Wynkoop.
Since arriving back at BHS as the Assistant Principal, Wynkoop has also advocated for the Link Crew mentoring program which assists students with the transition into high school. The program pairs incoming freshman with seniors to make sure all students are supported through the transition period.
The program first began in 2005 and, since it was implemented, has created some dramatic changes in the school community. The number students in ninth grade with at least one failing grade dropped from 89 in the program’s first year to 46 in the 2012-13 school year. The number of ninth grade suspensions has also dropped from 30 to 18, with three years of only seven suspensions.
“Not only does a student benefit from this program as a freshman when we learn time management, organization and problem solving skills, but also as a [senior] mentor to understand how to lead a group and gain valuable knowledge about working with a classroom,” says recent Ballard graduate Anna Cechony.
Overall, Wynkoop has clearly has guided BHS with positivity and support for both students and staff alike. “Keven has embraced the ideology that every student can and will be successful at Ballard High School and is working diligently to create the best climate and culture possible for his students,” says Scott Seaman.
“Keven shows a lot of trust in his staff and he guides them to fulfill their duties while allowing them the freedom to take ownership in their decisions,” says teacher Michael James.
Wynkoop is now eligible for the 2015 NASSP National High School Principal of the Year award. The program, sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, annually recognizes outstanding middle level and high school principals.
From the state winners, six finalists (three middle level, three high school) will compete for the award in Washington, D.C., later this year. Click here to learn more.
Congratulations to Keven Wynkoop and the entire BHS community!
Photo courtesy of Seattle Public Schools.