District 45 Principal Kelly Nettleton named IPA DuPage Region Elementary Principal of the Year

Villa Park-Lombard Elementary District 45 Early Childhood Center Principal Kelly Nettleton has been selected as the 2022-23 Illinois Principals Association DuPage Region Elementary Principal of the Year.

"I am very honored to receive this recognition through IPA," Nettleton said. "It is a pleasure to work with a dedicated staff and the wonderful students and families in Villa Park and Lombard."

Nettleton said that educating early learners has been her passion for many years and that she has been proud to partner with parents to provide a safe and play-based learning environment for their children.

"I have found the parents in our community to be very invested in their children's early learning years and in providing them with a well-rounded preschool experience," Nettleton said. "By providing both general and special education services, we have been able to meet the diverse needs of the students in our community."

Nettleton will now proceed to the state-level competition for the Illinois Elementary Principal of the Year, with statewide winners announced later this year.

Criteria for Principal of the Year winners include: demonstrating a positive impact on education and advocacy for children; ensuring the school climate is positive and reflects high staff and student morale; demonstrating creativity and imagination in bringing about positive change, and involving the community in the life of the school and using community resources for students.

Nettleton was nominated by Raúl Gastón, principal of Jefferson Middle School and president of the Illinois Principals Association.

In his nomination, Gastón said, "Mrs. Nettleton invested many hours in preparing the opening of the new District 45 Early Childhood Center and successfully started the year in a new building with all her staff in one location. Her professionalism and hard work are admirable and go well above and beyond the standard responsibilities of most principals. The students, staff, and community are fortunate to have such a strong leader who has set the Early Childhood Center on the path to great success."

Nettleton considers herself fortunate to serve as an administrator "in a district that prioritizes early childhood development and focuses on the whole child."

Kelly Nettleton has worked in District 45 for 16 years, first as a school psychologist, and nine years as the Early Childhood program administrator.

The Illinois Principals Association is a leadership organization serving over 6,200 educational leaders throughout Illinois.

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