South Mountain High School Principal Kate McDonald Named a 2016 Rodel Foundation Exemplary Principal

Posted by Community Relations on 1/13/2016

South Mountain High School Principal Kate McDonald was named a 2016 Rodel Foundation Exemplary Principal January 10, one of eight finalists in Arizona. From these finalists, selected for their ability to inspire staff and create high-achieving, safe and welcoming schools in high-need communities, an Exemplary Principal cohort will be announced January 10 to provide professional development and mentoring to Rodel Aspiring Principals, creating a pipeline for educators who can eventually lead high-need schools. 

McDonald was nominated by Phoenix Union Interim Superintendent and former Rodel Exemplary Principal Dr. Chad Gestson. Rodel had a team of former principals and superintendents that identified semifinalists and visited campuses.  Through interviews and observations with the principal and staff, the team looked for evidence of high expectations, a focus on effective teaching and student management strategies.  Of the 15 finalists, four are high school principals.

McDonald was principal at Metro Tech for seven years before moving to South this school year. Metro Tech earned the A+ School of Excellence Award given by the Arizona Educational Foundation in 2014, demonstrating sustained high achievement or significant improvement through assessment data. Metro Tech was named a 2014 Bronze School in the U.S. News and World Report Magazine’s Best High Schools list.  In 2012-13 it was recognized as a Beat the Odds “Gold School,” by the Center for the Future of Arizona, and was a 2012-13 Arizona Higher Performing School according to the National Center for Educational Achievement annual report.  For an urban school with a student body that was 98% minority and 82% low income, Metro Tech had a 95% four-year graduation rate and an annual dropout rate below 1% in 2014-15.