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Northwest principal is tops in the state

Shelly Larochelle, principal of Northwest Elementary School, received the Elementary School Principal of the Year Award from the New Hampshire Association of School Principals. The annual award is one of three that recognizes one outstanding school principal in the state at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

The nomination for Larochelle included high praise from her colleagues, including one who wrote to the selection committee, “Shelly is a principal that truly inspires the passion of being an educator in all of us. . .She promotes a culture that spreads optimism and cultivates a positive learning environment through the school. Teachers want to work with her and beside her.”

Larochelle has spent her entire career in Manchester and at Northwest, the city’s largest elementary school with an enrollment of about 700 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. She began as a classroom teacher in 1995, became the school’s assistant principal in 2001, and since 2008, Larochelle has served as principal. She enjoys her role as an administrator.

“It is fulfilling to see that I have a direct part in making a positive impact on students, teachers, and the school as a whole,” said Larochelle. “I enjoy investing time with students and seeing them mature and grow throughout the school year and beyond. Our hard-working, dedicated faculty and staff make me proud to come to work every day.”

Those who know Larochelle say her collaborative ability to motivate and empower teachers to develop lifelong learners in their students has helped her school reach new heights.     

“My constituents often tell me they chose their homes specifically so that their children could attend Northwest,” said Ward 12 Board of School Committee member Connie Van Houten, who supported Larochelle’s Principal of the Year nomination. “Northwest is one of Manchester’s hidden gems, in large part because of Mrs. Larochelle, who excels well beyond her job description in leadership, integrity, compassion and devotion to her school.”

As a state Principal of the Year recipient, Larochelle will represent New Hampshire in Washington, D.C., when the National Association of Elementary Principals names its 2016 national Principal of the Year in the fall.  

“We congratulate Shelley on this outstanding achievement.  This honor is truly indicative of the high caliber of principals in our school district,” said Superintendent of Schools Debra Livingston.

Larochelle is Manchester’s second Principal of the Year in as many years. In 2015, Memorial High School principal Arthur Adamakos was named New Hampshire Secondary School Principal of the Year. 

This year's finalists for NH Secondary School Principal of the Year included Karen Machado of Manchester School of Technology, and Memorial High School assistant principal Peter Perich was a finalist for NH Assistant Principal of the Year. 

Congratulations to all of them!

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