Mat-Su Borough principal recognized for leadership

Colony Middle School’s Mary Fulp has been named Principal of the Year
Colony Middle School's Mary Fulp is named Alaska's Principal of the Year for 2022
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 6:41 PM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Walking into the halls of Colony Middle School, it’s hard not to notice the colorful signs that gently decorate the walls and tables. Signs that promote hope, encourage change, and value inclusivity.

Mary Fulp has been the principal at the middle school for over a decade — or as she explains it to her students:

“I’ve been here since before they were born, 15 years,” Fulp said. “I never planned to be here this long. I just — this is my place.”

The Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals recently announced Fulp as the Alaska Principal of the Year for 2022, citing her statewide leadership and her advocacy for students, education, as well as other principals.

Fulp’s leadership style focuses on creating a positive learning environment where students not only get a quality education, but also have a safe place to be themselves. She’s aided school programs such as a student of the week, the good morning crew that delivers morning announcements, as well as weekly trends that fall within monthly themes, all designed to promote positive thinking — and that’s just to name a few.

As a lifelong Alaskan raised in Kodiak, Fulp started her career in education 24 years ago teaching in the villages of Kotzebue and Chevak before settling in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District. Fulp said she was unaware that she had even been nominated until Superintendent Randy Trani told her in person that she had been named the recipient of the award.

“It was a remote learning day, we were super busy, and he swung by the school,” Fulp recalled. “... and then he told me he had nominated me.”

Fulp called it a nice surprise during a very challenging time, noting the gaps in learning students were left with when the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to suspend in-person classes. The announcement made her reflect on everything she had experienced throughout her long career.

“I was flooded with all those beautiful memories of love from unique situations of impact along the way,” Fulp said. “... That’s why this award is special, because it’s just a culmination of each unique place I was in Alaska.”

Each year State Principal of the Year winners are submitted for consideration to be the National Principal of the Year. The National Association of Secondary School Principals will announce three finalists in July. Fulp will travel to Washington DC in September for the National Principals Institute.

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