Croner gains honor

    Scot Croner, principal at Bellmont High School since 2008, has been named by the Indiana Association of School Principals as its District 3 High School Principal of the Year for 2010.
    Croner will receive official recognition of the award during the association's annual fall conference on Nov. 21 in Indianapolis.
    District 3 of the IASP includes Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Stueben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.
    High school prinicipals of the year are elected by their peers, according to an association press release. Once principal is honored from each of the state's 12 districts. A statewide principal of the year winner will be announced at the award celebration.
    "Obviously I'm very honored," Croner said of his upcoming award. "It's humbling that your colleagues would recommend you for that type of award."
    Croner, now in his third year at BHS, has been the driving force behind the transformation of Bellmont High School into an Early College High School, where students simultaneously earn a high school diploma and up to two years of college credit towards a bachelor's degree.
    "I am a firm believer that although not all change is progress, all progress is the result of change," Croner wrote in his nominating petition. "We as educators are challenged to make significant improvements in our methods of teaching and utilize best practices to improve student achievement. I have worked with the staff at BHS and implemented such practices into our professional learning community. ... We have been named an emerging Early College High School and are on our way to receiving full ECHS status."
    The BHS principal said the shift to an early college high school model, the awarding of physical education credits through athletics and a new credit by examination policy "are among the things we're doing here at Bellmont of which I'm most proud."
    He was also quick to credit the teaching and support staff at BHS, as well as the North Adams administrative team, for their support of endeavors which he has spearheaded.
    "All the positive things happening at Bellmont High School are a testament to the excellent staff I have to work with," Croner said.
    In a letter to the IASP in support of Croner's bid for principal of the year honors, North Adams Superintendent of School Wylie Sirk said Croner has "demonstrated exemplary leadership skills as he facilitates the development, articulation, implementation and stewardship of a clear vision of learning that is shared and supported by stakeholders."
    Sirk said the BHS principal demonstrates "fairness, integrity and promotes high ideals ... and encourages understanding and the welfare of students and staff."
    Bellmont biology teacher Rebecca Dumbaugh called Croner a "dedicated, inspiring educational leader who has made a tremendous impact on the Bellmont High School/North Adams school district in his short time here."
    Croner is a graduate of North Manchester High School, where he was a member of the varsity basketball team. He played college basketball at Manchester College while earning his bachelor's degree in mathematics. Croner earned his master's degree in educational administration from Purdue University in 2005, and is working toward his Ph.D. in educational leadership, also at Purdue.
    After starting his teaching career as a math teacher with the Lafayette School Corporation, Croner spent two years as the dean of students at Fairfield Community Schools in Goshen before taking a vice principal's job at Delta High School in Delaware County. He was hired in the summer of 2008 as the BHS principal.