University Hills Elementary School Principal Named Principal of the Year

Amy Grande Named Principal of the Year

Amy Grande, principal of University Hills Elementary School, has been honored as the 2016 Principal of the Year for Region 7 (Oakland County) from the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA). This distinction now qualifies her as a candidate for the statewide competition, which will be announced in December.

“I am proud of the culture we are building at University Hills Elementary School and within the Rochester Community School District,” said Grande. “It is an honor to accept this award and continue the tradition of excellence that our students, parents, staff and community members have come to expect.”

MEMPSA Region 7 Treasurer Jennifer Goethals (left) and President Cyndi Nickel (right) congratulated Grande during a staff meeting on Tuesday at University Hills Elementary School

MEMPSA Region 7 Treasurer Jennifer Goethals (left) and President Cyndi Nickel (right) congratulated Grande during a staff meeting on Tuesday at University Hills Elementary School

Grande has served at University Hills since 1973, first as a teacher and learning consultant, and then for the past 15 years, as the principal.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Amy Grande since becoming involved with the PTA at University Hills Elementary in 2004,” said former Board President and current Trustee Jennifer Berwick. “From our first interactions, I saw a woman of integrity, strength and an intense commitment to the staff, students and families of her elementary school community.”

Under Amy Grande’s leadership, University Hills fosters an atmosphere of respect, caring and safety. “As parents, we want our children to be excited about their learning in school and develop character traits that enable them to become good citizens,” said Berwick. “Amy sets the example.”

According to the MEMSPA website, the Principal of the Year award recognizes “outstanding principals whose contributions to the profession are exemplary and recognized by their peers and communities alike. The program honors principals who have exhibited extraordinary leadership, commitment to their students and faculty, service to their communities and contributions to the overall profession.”

Amy Grande named Principal of the Year

Amy Grande named Principal of the Year

“Amy is well respected within her school community and throughout the district,” said Michael Behrmann, executive director of elementary education. “Her actions are rooted in a foundation of caring and good citizenship, and we are proud to recognize her achievements.”

Hamlin Elementary Principal Gary Van Staveren, Ph.D., said that Grande’s defining characteristics include not only knowing each student by name, but also their story. On any given day, she can be seen in the hallways, classrooms, playground, and at school events outside of the school day. Grande even hosts PTA meetings at her home. Collaboration and shared leadership are the norm at University Hills and her staff meetings are affectionately referred to as “celebration meetings.” Rochester Community Schools Mission To provide a quality education in a caring atmosphere for students to attain the necessary skills and knowledge to become lifelong learners and contribute to a diverse, interdependent and changing world.

“Amy Grande is an eternal optimist and reminds us how fortunate we are to impact the lives of a child; she holds the responsibility close to her heart. Her professionalism, positive spirit and tireless energy have built a community at University Hills that has every child’s best interests in mind. Amy Grande leads with her heart and is the heart of University Hills Elementary!” said RCS Teacher Maureen Sherry.

Grande earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from Oakland University. She is a member of the Oakland Schools Administrators Academy and the Oakland Schools Principal Network. Grande is also a resident of Rochester Hills.

“For more than 40 years, Amy has provided outstanding leadership to the University Hills school community,” said Superintendent Robert Shaner, Ph.D. “As an educator and principal, she exhibits a pride in excellence that helps propel the Rochester Community School District to new heights.”

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