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News & Press: State News

National AP of the Year for Texas Named

Tuesday, April 10, 2018  
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Canutillo ISD Assistant Principal Chosen as 2018 National Assistant Principal for Texas


With a passion for showing students how to set and reach goals, Jessica Melendez-Carrillo serves as a model for professional excellence in Canutillo ISD. Reaching out to stakeholders with the message that education matters, Melendez-Carrillo plays an active and vital role in molding her campus, Congressman Silvestre and Carolina Reyes School, into a 21st century educational model. Melendez-Carrillo’s work has led her to be named the 2018 National Assistant Principal for Texas by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA).


“Assistant principals are critical to a school’s success,” TEPSA Executive Director Harley Eckhart said. “We are proud to recognize Jessica as an outstanding school administrator. Her ability to encourage and empower her students and other educators is a shining example of great school leadership.”


Focusing on positive behavior strategies and school safety, Melendez-Carrillo was instrumental in bringing together different teams to improve campus culture, attendance and student achievement. When she saw an opportunity to help third-fifth grade girls develop a positive mindset, Melendez-Carrillo not only found and implemented a healthy living curriculum; she celebrated with them when they completed their first 5K race with her.


“Jessica has helped instill a positive culture in our community that is driven by high expectations for student achievement and positive behavior strategies,” Principal Debbie Kerney, Ph.D., wrote in her recommendation letter. “She continues to model lifelong learning. Due to her strong belief in empowering students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Jessica is currently pursuing a National STEM Certification.”


The National Assistant Principal of the Year award is sponsored by TEPSA in coordination with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). The peer-selected award recognizes assistant principals who have demonstrated a positive impact on their students and learning. Criteria include:

  • A commitment to excellence and exceptional leadership as evidenced by student achievement and programs designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students.
  • Firmly established community ties and respect from teachers, students, and the community.
  • Exceptional leadership in a particular school program.

TEPSA is proud to have Horace Mann supporting the Texas program.


“We are honored to recognize exceptional leaders like Jessica Melendez-Carrillo,” said Lori Gray, Horace Mann Business Texas Regional Manager. “She’s a true example of an extraordinary administrator and her ability to touch the hearts of her students makes her a true champion for children.”


Horace Mann is the largest national multiline insurance company focusing on educators' financial needs. Horace Mann provides auto, home and life insurance, retirement products and other financial solutions. Founded by Educators for Educators® in 1945, the company is headquartered in Springfield, Illinois.              


TEPSA, whose hallmark is educational leaders learning with and from each other, has served Texas PreK-8 school leaders since 1917. Member owned and member governed, TEPSA represents more than 5,900 members who direct the activities of more than 3 million PreK-8 schoolchildren.

Contact TEPSA

501 East 10th Street
Austin, TX 78701
Fax: 512-478-1502

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