Gypsum principal wins national award | VailDaily.com

Gypsum principal wins national award

Special to the DailyWith Mitch Forsberg, center, at the helm, Gypsum Elementary was one of two schools in Colorado to be named a 2010 National Distinguished Title I School for Closing the Achievement Gap.

Mitch Forsberg was never more distinguished than Friday morning.

Forsberg, dressed in cotton warmup pants rolled up to his knees and 1980s neon-green socks and sandals for Crazy Sock Day at Gypsum Elementary School, accepted his award as the 2011 Colorado National Distinguished Principal of the Year.

Forsberg’s peers from the Colorado Association of School Executives made the selection.

When Forsberg was handed his crystal trophy, the room went wild with a standing ovation from students and staff.

“You should be proud to be part of this school,” Bruce Caughey, executive director of CASE, told the cheering crowd as he presented the award.

Forsberg, as always, deflected the praise back to the students and staff.

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“This is the result of the work of these kids and these teachers and staff,” Forsberg said. “Everyone is working hard, and that’s what creates this sort of connect.”

With Forsberg at the helm, Gypsum Elementary was one of two schools in Colorado to be named a 2010 National Distinguished Title I School for Closing the Achievement Gap.

The school decreased the achievement gap by the highest percentage of any Colorado school.

“It’s not just about the data,” Caughey said. “It’s about the school’s culture. We studied the data, of course, but we did several site visits and interviews.”

Gypsum Elementary teachers meet more than two hours each week to review student data and discuss progress, goals and challenges.

“When he comes to my office, he’s always bragging about you kids, the staff and teachers and the community of Gypsum,” said Dr. Sandra Smyser, superintendent of Eagle County schools, to the crowd Friday morning. “This is our chance to brag about him.”

Forsberg and other CASE award winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony later this month, as well as at the Annual CASE Convention this summer in Breckenridge.

As Colorado’s National Distinguished Principal, Forsberg will be honored, along with other state winners, in Washington, D.C., in the fall.

“He has it all. He’s a great principal,” Caughey said, looking around the gym Friday morning, packed with students. “They’re quiet when they need to be, they’re attentive when they need to be, and they have fun when they’re supposed to.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.