September 14, 2004

Michael Carr, NASSP
Holly Sheffer, MetLife


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Randy Jensen, principal of William Thomas Middle School in American Falls, Idaho, has been named the 2005 MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year.

Jensen received the award for demonstrating excellence in resolving complex problems, involving the local community in the life of the school, and his consistent success in improving William Thomas Middle School's overall learning environment. Jensen will receive $5,000 as part of his award.

"Randy Jensen truly understands the unique needs of adolescents and the importance of providing a welcoming environment where children feel safe, comfortable, and ready to learn," stated Dr. Gerald N. Tirozzi, executive director, NASSP. "This understanding has allowed him to provide an environment where students and parents feel comfortable and involved in the school. We are proud to have him as the 2005 National Middle Level Principal of the Year."

"We proudly honor Randy Jensen -- an exemplary model of school leadership," said Michael K. Farrell, chief executive officer, MetLife Resources. "Randy focuses on significant school data to positively impact students, and America's future."

Jensen's dedication to William Thomas Middle School is obvious, and may be due, in part, to the fact that he has been a staff member there for almost 18 years-as a teacher for 3 years and as an administrator for 15.

Since he took over the principalship, Jensen has led the restructuring of the school program to include teaming, teacher-advisory, a flexible block schedule, and a parent advisory committee. When low state test scores indicated literacy problems, Jensen implemented reading across the curriculum, added a reading coach, and expanded math and reading classes for struggling students. The result was significantly higher student achievement in just one year.

Personalization is a focal point at William Thomas Middle School, where a strong advisory program ensures all students have an adult advocate. "This is such a misunderstood and tumultuous time in the lives of young people, so those of us who know and love them must be their advocates," he says. Jensen also implemented a Skill Exploration program to build student self-esteem and motivate students to learn.

"Randy Jensen is an innovative leader, well respected by the teachers and parents of the community," according to Ronald Bolinger, superintendent of American Falls (Idaho) School District No. 381. "He is able to make meaningful, needed changes for the benefit of the students."

Jensen has been serving as the 2004 Idaho Middle Level Principal of the Year. Jensen was one of three state finalists selected from candidates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA).

The National Association of Secondary School Principals-the preeminent organization and the national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders-provides its members the professional resources to serve as visionary leaders. NASSP promotes the intellectual growth, academic achievement, character development, leadership development, and physical well-being of youth through its programs and student leadership services. NASSP sponsors the National Honor Society™, the National Junior Honor Society™, and the National Association of Student Councils™.

About MetLife Resources
MetLife Resources, a division of MetLife, provides retirement plans and other financial services to healthcare, education, and not-for-profit organizations. MetLife, a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to individual and institutional customers. The MetLife companies serve individuals in approximately 13 million households in the U.S. and provide benefits to 37 million employees and family members through their plan sponsors. Outside the U.S., the MetLife companies serve approximately 8 million customers through direct insurance operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan and Uruguay.