Mr. Willers was awarded the 2017 National Distinguished Principal by National Association of Elementary School Principals. Ken received the honor in Washington, DC on October 13, 2017.
Ken Willers was one of 3 Catholic School Principals from the United States selected for this honor along with one public school principal from each state.
While in Washington, DC, Mr. Willers met with Maureen Dowling, the Director of Non-Public Schools for the US Department of Education; the President and Executive Team at the NCEA Offices; attended an opening night reception at the Portrait Gallery; had a guided tour of the Capital Building.
The following was how Mr. Willers was acknowledged during the event:
Kenneth J. Willers embraces educational-tech partnerships to enhance student learning outcomes and prepare students for their futures. In his seven years as principal at School of the Madeleine, he has overseen the complete renovation of the school’s technology capacity; now, classrooms feature integrated technology, mobile furniture and a 1:1 iPad ratio. Four years ago, Willers implemented a collaborative teaching model, utilizing partner teachers to tailor support to students who are struggling, as well as for students who excel. Willers has also worked with outside agencies to develop enrichment programs, such as partnering with Communication Works to provide social-cognitive therapy and other strategies to support students struggling with self-regulation. This partnership led to the creation of a school-wide set of shared vocabulary and support strategies that can be used by teachers throughout all grade levels. Willers centers all his work around the Catholic mission and values of the school, thereby strengthening the sense of community. The yearly Family Finance evening, where staff shares the school’s vision and provides financial transparency, keeps stakeholders invested in school progress and has resulted in a 100% family participation rate in Annual Fund pledges. Willers received a secondary teaching credential and a B.A. in Philosophy from Don Bosco College, and holds an M.Div. from the Graduate Theological Union of the Jesuit School of Theology and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Catholic Diocesan Leadership from The Catholic University of America.