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Congratulations! 2020 AAMLA Principal of the Year
Congratulations! 2020 AAMLA Principal of the Year
Monday, May 18, 2020
Congratulations to Bentonville School District Principal Eric Hipp in receiving the 2020 AAMLA Principal of the Year Award!

Cited for his commitment to his students' long term success, Eric Hipp, Principal at Ruth Hale Barker Middle School in Bentonville, received the Arkansas Association of Middle Level Administrators (AAMLA) 2020 Administrator of the Year. 

"We leave no gray areas when it comes to defining what it takes to love a child well," said Hipp. "If there is an example of what I do well in regards to cultivating culture, it's keeping focused on our purpose."

The award designates Hipp as a Distinguished Principal in the National Association of Elementary School Principal’s (NAESP) National Distinguished Principal ® (NDP) program, which honors outstanding elementary and middle-level principals who ensure that America's children acquire a sound foundation for lifelong learning and achievement.

In 2012, Hipp was also recognized as Assistant Principal of the Year by AAMLA while working at  J.O. Kelly Middle School.

Debbie Jones, superintendent, Bentonville School District, notes that during Hipp's tenure as principal, Barker Middle School has earned some impressive accolades.

 "Under Mr. Hipp's leadership, Ruth Barker Middle School earned the titles of National School to Watch and Arkansas Diamond School," said Jones. "Eric not only inspires his teachers to provide high quality academic instruction, he is responsible for leading a culture that promotes development of the whole child to include civic engagement, social and emotional health, and career development."

Hipp believes that the middle school years are a critical time for students and said that creating an active student life through clubs and annual school events can help them develop a sense of belonging. 

"During a child's middle school years, I firmly believe they either knowingly or subconsciously decide how successful or unsuccessful they will be as a student moving forward," he said. "If we don't personally know our students and have a plan in place to meet them where they're at as a human and as a learner with acceptance and understanding, we can only win a short-term battle."

Ansley Webb, fifth grade literacy teacher at Barker Middle School praised Hipp for his efforts to inspire students to become lifelong learners. "He often says we are the last, best chance to create a student who thrives and loves school," said Webb. "I'm completely in agreement with him and also respect the fact that he practices what he preaches."

Sara Ford, principal at J.O. Kelley Middle School in Springdale, worked with Hipps when he was her assistant principal 2006 to 2013. "Eric definitely has the 'it' factor," Ford said.. "He is true north, a young professional at the top of his game with a huge heart for kids, teachers, and families."