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Aguilar Elementary Principal Receives Prestigious County Award

Post Date:05/17/2019 3:28 PM

Four people smiling at camera. Jessica Larsen in middle holding her award trophy in front of the Aguilar Wildcat LogoPrincipal Jessica Larsen of Aguilar Elementary School was recently awarded the prestigious Exemplary Principal Award from Steve Watson, Maricopa County School Superintendent. On May 10, Larsen was surprised by members of the Maricopa County School Superintendent Office and Tempe Elementary School District Superintendent Christine Busch at the school’s weekly school-wide assembly, Fitness Friday.

“We have been searching high and low for the best principals in Maricopa County, and we found one right here at your school,” said Watson to the cheering crowd of Aguilar students and staff.

The Exemplary Principal Award is presented to individuals who exemplify practices and leadership that contribute to high expectations and exceptional student learning. They must undergo a rigorous five-step evaluation that involves a superintendent nomination, teacher and staff survey, video interview, a site visit, and a data review.

Larsen was selected as one of eleven award recipients from over 1,000 school principals in Maricopa County. She was selected based on her ability to:

  • Actively engage staff, parents, and community members in developing an effective school culture.

  • Utilize data to guide instruction and decisions regarding staff development.

  • Have a history of high teacher retention.

  • Demonstrate the ability to successfully develop and inspire others.

“Thank you to my amazing students and staff. It has been an absolute pleasure working alongside you,” said Larsen. “Thank you for always allowing me to try new things and pushing me to be the best I can be. I am blessed to be a part of this community.”

Larsen is a beloved part of the Aguilar Elementary community. Both staff and students agree that her commitment to building connections and her positive energy has made a huge impact on their school.

“Her positivity is contagious and Jessica makes our Student Support Team feel invincible,” said School Psychologist Nakita Buchanan. “She has had such a profound impact on our climate and mission as educators at Aguilar.”

The Office of the Maricopa County School Superintendent is led by elected Superintendent Steve Watson. The office is statutorily responsible to provide services supporting school governing board elections, bond and override elections, appointments, school finance, and maintain homeschool and private school records. The superintendent leverages the office to strengthen teacher voice, elevate the education profession, and create resources that expand the capacity of teachers, administrators, and support staff. The superintendent also oversees the Maricopa County accommodation district.

Aguilar Elementary serves students in grades preschool through fifth-grade and is a proud part of the Tempe Elementary School District. Principal Jessica Larsen has been serving as the leader of Aguilar Elementary for the past four school years. Aguilar Elementary is now accepting student enrollment for all grade levels for the 2019-2020 school year. Please visit for more information.
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