Carolyn Lewis assistant principal named Assistant Principal of the Year

CONWAY — Carise Echols, Assistant Principal at Carolyn Lewis Elementary School, has been named the 2022 “Assistant Principal of the Year” by the Arkansas Association of Elementary School Principals (AAESP). 

AAESP leaders, members of Conway Public Schools’ Administrative Leadership team, and Echols’ family gathered at Carolyn Lewis Elementary School on Dec. 12 to present Echols with the award.

Carolyn Lewis Principal Stacy Defoor (from left), Carise Echols, and Arkansas Association of Elementary School Principals President Mark Lewis.

“I am thrilled to recognize Mrs. Echols,” says Mark Lewis, current AAESP President. “This award is given each year to an Arkansas elementary school Assistant Principal who has succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students, and has been acknowledged by peers for exemplary contribution to the profession. She is very deserving.”

Echols has been the assistant principal at the elementary school for the last three years. Before becoming an administrator, she taught at the school for five years.

Principal Stacy Defoor says Echols’ work ethic and determination have helped their school make impressive progress.

“Mrs. Echols has strong interpersonal relationships with our staff that have allowed her to transition from a teacher to administrator here in our building,” Defoor said. “This type of transition is not always easy, but her ability to support our people, along with our goals and initiatives, is impeccable.”

Under Echols and Defoor’s leadership, Carolyn Lewis Elementary School was named a “National Blue Ribbon School” in the fall. They traveled to Washington D.C. to receive the prestigious award. They were also recognized at the Arkansas State Board of Education meeting last week.

“We are very proud of Mrs. Echols, and sincerely appreciate the hard work, love, and dedication she exhibits daily to her students and staff members at Carolyn Lewis Elementary,” Superintendent Jeff Collum said.

“For our students, her heart is right where it needs to be,” said Katie Kirkland, a teacher at the school. “No matter the problem, big or small, finding a solution to suit the student’s needs is always her main objective.  And as for the teachers, we have never felt more supported.“

For the last three years, the toughest years in education, she has proven she was made for this.”