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Archambault honored Friday as top middle school principal in U.S.

Linda Archambault learned this week — which she spent in Washington, D.C., meeting President Barack Obama on Friday — that being a hardworking middle school principal can have its perks.

The school year started out the same as always for Archambault, principal of Gibson Middle School on Washington Avenue east of Decatur Boulevard. The first week of classes was to end Friday, Sept. 2, with an ordinary schoolwide assembly. Or so Archambault thought.

Little did she know that all the students, staff and more were there for her and the announcement that she was the 2012 National Middle School Principal of the Year, the first ever in Nevada . The award, given by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, recognizes outstanding principals who are committed to student achievement.

“I hope the one thing students take away from all this is that anything is possible if you work hard, set your mind to it and never give up,” she said at the time.

Archambault, who thought she was attending the assembly as part of a fundraising program, was named as one of three finalists in July. The association recognized her at a black-tie gala during its national conference on Friday, in Washington . Archambault will receive $5,000 in grants, which she will use to establish a mentoring program for at-risk students.

Archambault, who has been principal for five years, had to cope with declining test scores, low staff morale and an aging school. She examined all aspects of the school, curriculum and staffing to assess what could be changed to improve student achievement. She relocated teachers, introduced new curriculum and implemented a dress code. In 2009-10, the school met No Child Left Behind’s standards for adequate yearly progress for the first time.

“Dr. Archambault is the kind of leader who quietly soaks everything in during conversations,” Clark County School District Deputy Superintendent Pedro Martinez said. “But when she speaks about her school or her students, you can hear the passion in her voice. That passion is what makes her an exceptional principal.”

Contact reporter Trevon Milliard at tmilliard@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279.

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