Niwot High's Andrea Smith named Colorado assistant principal of year

Niwot High assistant principal Andrea Smith's student-centered approach and success leading the school's one-to-one technology roll-out has garnered her statewide recognition.
Smith recently was named the 2018 Colorado Assistant Principal of the Year for Secondary Schools. In the spring, Niwot High's Principal Eric Rauschkolb was named the 2017 Colorado Secondary School Principal of the Year.
"Anything that celebrates the work we're doing as a school and as a team is awesome," Smith said. "We're crushing it. We're excited."
Smith is her third year at Niwot High, previously working as a science teacher and assistant principal at Lafayette's Peak to Peak Charter School.
"Coming to Niwot, my goal was to continue to make those really strong connections to kids that I had at Peak to Peak," she said. "I use every opportunity to interact with students and to be an adult of trust."
Smith developed a teacher-led professional development structure that allows teachers to share their knowledge and practice with other teachers, as well as a student-centered master schedule that allows students to play a larger role in course choices.
Early in her tenure with Niwot, the school also gave iPads to all its students as part of a district initiative. Smith, along with the school's learning technology plan team, volunteered to lead the effort to prepare students and teachers.

She encouraged teachers to become technology experts and trained upperclassmen to assist younger students in setting up their iPads — earning her St. Vrain Valley's Excellence in Education Award.

"We've been really empowering our teachers to be leaders of professional learning," she said. "They can share what they're trying and what's working."

She said her Assistant Principal of the Year award is as much the result of the work of the school's teachers, counselors and administrative team as it is her own work.

The award, she added, allows her to highlight the innovative practices at her school and districtwide.

"We're doing pretty amazing stuff," she said.

Smith now is eligible for National Assistant Principal of the Year recognition, and will be recognized in Chicago this spring along with other state winners.