Jeff Gilbertson ('89, history and sociology), principal of The Academies of Grand Island Senior High, was recently named High School Principal of the Year by the Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals.
The annual award recognizes outstanding leadership in their school, region, and at the state level and excellence in five categories.
Gilbertson started his career in education in 1996 as an elementary teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska at Brownell and Ruth Hill elementary schools. He became an elementary school principal in Grand Island in 2001, then moved from middle school principal to Director of Secondary Education for Grand Island Public School to Executive High School Principal at Grand Island Senior High.
"He is a strong instructional leader, manager of a very complex operation, and yet, demonstrates care and concern for all," Dr. Tawana Grover, Superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools, said. "He has a strong vision for the future, and continues to think of innovative approaches to meet student needs."
Gilbertson is a member of the Nebraska Council of School Administrators (NCSA), the Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals (NSASSP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
"The attitude that Mr. Gilbertson holds that 'students come first' has had a lasting impact on the lives of countless students, myself included," Kendall Bartling, an Academies student and a student representative to the school board, said. "No single person has had as much of an impact on my emotional well being and my future aspirations as Mr. Gilbertson."
Judy Lorenzen, an English teacher at Grand Island Senior High, said Gilbertson often reminds her of why she went into teaching—love of subject and love of kids.
"[His goals as principal] are to help us teachers realize the gravity of our work every single day and the significance of our impact on every single student," she said.
After attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he earned additional degrees from Concordia University in 1996 and Doane University in 2001 and 2017.
"His work has been highlighted by the development and implementation of a transformed high school to a high functioning Wall to Wall Career Academy High School that is aligned to National Standards of practice," the NSASSP wrote in a press release.
Adapted from the NSASSP press release by Jeff Steinbeck.