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LINCOLN – The Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals has selected Ross Ricenbaw as the 2019 Middle School Principal of the Year.

Ricenbaw has been the principal at Waverly Middle School since 2013.

Ricenbaw will officially receive the award later this year and will also have the opportunity to represent the state and apply for national recognition.

Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals announced last week that the Waverly Middle School principal had been tapped for the state award.

Ricenbaw said he was very honored to receive the recognition.

“To be recognized by my peers is very humbling,” he said.

He credited the educational atmosphere in the state as being a very open and positive place for an administrator. He said there are some really great educators in Nebraska.

Ricenbaw was also quick to point out the support and assistance he receives from the team at District 145.

“Waverly is just a really great place to work and to be,” Ricenbaw said.

He said recognition from his state peers is rewarding, but equally satisfying is the team of educator he gets to work with every day.

“The real honor is getting to work in such a great place,” he said about the school.

District 145 Superintendent Dr. Cory Worrell praised Ricenbaw for his commitment to education.

“Ross is an influential leader in his building. This includes the ability to understand effective assessment and instruction. He also has a personality that allows for him to be approachable for students and parents,” Worrell said. “Ross is a leader amongst our administrators. He is not afraid to speak his mind on issues that need resolved and he brings another level of thinking to our administrative discussions.”

Emily Finley, a teacher at Waverly Middle School, also supported Ricenbaw’s selection.

“I have seen Ross change the culture of Waverly Middle School,” she stated. “His growth mindset has set an example and model for the teachers here. He is constantly working to grow as a leader and is always encouraging the same in his teachers.”

According to the association, the Middle School Principal of the Year award is presented annually to a principal who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in their school, region and at the state level. The award honors principals who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of personal excellence, collaborative leadership, curriculum, instruction and assessment and personalization.

Ricenbaw has been in education since 2003. Prior to coming to Waverly, he served seven years as a teacher at Ralston Public Schools and three years as grades seven through 12 principal at East Butler Public Schools.

Ricenbaw, a native of Friend, has been a member of the Nebraska Council of School Administrators, the Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals (NSASSP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals for nine years. Ricenbaw was selected as Nebraska’s “Outstanding New Principal” in 2012.

Ricenbaw currently serves on the NSASSP Executive Board as the president-elect. He has previously held numerous leadership positions as part of the NSASSP Region 1 principals group as well as the NSASSP Executive Board. He has been active within the state by presenting at the NCSA Administrators Days, the State Principals Conference and at the NCSA Emerging Administrator program.

Ricenbaw received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics from Grinnell College in 2002 and earned a Master's of Education in curriculum and instruction from Doane College in 2005 and an administrative certificate from Wayne State College in 2010. He is currently pursuing an Educational Specialist and a Doctorate Degree from Doane College.

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