FAIRBANKS — Pearl Creek Principal Katherine LaPlaunt takes a turn as a recess duty every Wednesday. On a recent sunny afternoon, a group of boys eagerly approached LaPlaunt during recess to ask permission to play a new game they had improvised. As part of her deliberation, she asked for a demonstration of the game, discussed ways the activity might get out of hand that they should avoid, and then granted permission after the excited students promised that they would comply if any of the recess duties told them to stop.
She exhibited the same thoughtful, open-minded, and supportive leadership with her students on the playground that her staff members experience daily.
“Kate is open to new ideas and supportive of her teachers in their creative efforts, often assisting them with finding the needed training, time, resources or resource person to help them develop a plan of action,” said longtime Pearl Creek teacher Barbara Sivin. “She trusts her staff to do what’s best for the students, implementing curriculum and managing the classroom in their own unique styles.”
LaPlaunt’s excellence as a school administrator garnered her national recognition this year. The National Association of Elementary School Principals selected LaPlaunt as the 2016 National Distinguished Principal for Alaska. She will travel to Washington, D.C. this week to attend the award ceremony and associated professional development event.
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
October 1, 2016