September 11, 2006

Contact: Shana Kemp, NASSP
Holly Sheffer, (MetLife) 


Washington, DC  — Ellen Minette, principal of Heidelberg Middle School in Heidelberg, Germany, has been named the 2007 MetLife/National Association of Secondary School Principals National Middle Level Principal of the Year.  Heidelberg Middle is a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school.  DoDEA is a civilian entity which has jurisdiction over all overseas schools on military bases.  Minette has had the unique opportunity to affect the lives of youth whose parents are, in many instances, deployed to regions that are in the middle of military conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since her arrival at Heidelberg Middle in 2000, Minette has made changes that have improved the climate, culture and collaborative efforts in the school.  Minette restructured the school, opting for a more middle school-friendly flexible block schedule and moving 18 teachers in order to group the school into smaller, grade level units.  Her efforts brought results.  For example, in 2005, 80% of sixth grade students scored at or above the second quartile on the Terra Nova in science.  Her seventh graders increased their science scores by 10% in the top two quartiles.  School-wide, students scored highest on the math portion of the test, something that hadn’t been done at Heidelberg Middle in over 10 years.

"These and other sweeping changes made by Ellen are just a few of the reasons why she was chosen as the MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year," said NASSP executive director Gerald N. Tirozzi, "Ellen, as would any strong principal, realized that the students and faculty in her building had the ability to do great things with the right support.  We commend her for her efforts."

In a school where 30% of the students are new each year, Minette created a strong climate of learning and collaboration.  She also worked immediately to increase the diversity of the faculty and staff to better reflect that of the student body.  She searched for and hired qualified minority applicants.

"We are proud to honor Ellen Minette for her strong leadership skills and dedication to her students and staff," said Thomas G. Hogan Jr., Head of MetLife Resources.  "She is enabling her students to succeed and creating a brighter future for them."

Sibyl Jacobson, senior vice president, MetLife Corporate Contributions, commenting on the program said, "The MetLife/NASSP Principal of the Year program underscores the critical role principals play in developing high performance schools that benefit all students.  We are a proud sponsor."

Minette will be honored during an awards banquet on October 14th in Washington, DC.  This marks the first time in the 14 year history of the MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Awards that a DoDEA principal has become the national winner.  The search for the National Principal of the Year began in early 2006 as each state principal’s association selected its State Principal of the Year. From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selected three middle level and three high school finalists.  Then, a national middle level winner and a national high school winner are selected. 

The six finalists each receive a $1,500 grant.  The two national award winners receive an additional grant of $3,500.  The grants are used to promote the advancement of learning opportunities for students or other related investments such as capital improvements, the purchase of technology-related equipment, or funding specific educational programs.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals and MetLife are strongly committed to supporting the visions of unsung school leaders.  Each year the MetLife/NASSP State and National Principal of the Year programs focus attention on the outstanding work principals do in middle level and high schools across the country.  These individuals are recognized for their accomplishments as high-achieving principals, all the while making a daily investment in our children’s future.

For more information about the MetLife/NASSP State and National Principal of the Year programs and winners, please visit or call Kristine Rzewnicki at 703-860-7238.

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Celebrating 90 years of excellence in school leadership, NASSP is the preeminent organization and the national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders. NASSP provides its members with 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 administers the National Honor Society™, National Junior Honor Society™, and National Association of Student Councils™.  For more information, visit

About MetLife
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 millions of individual and institutional customers throughout the United States. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. offers life insurance, annuities, automobile and homeowner’s insurance and retail banking services to individuals, as well as group insurance, reinsurance and retirement and savings products and services to corporations and other institutions. Outside the U.S., the MetLife companies have direct insurance operations in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe. For more information, please visit