2020 Assistant Principal of the Year-

Jonathan Guthrie

Jonathan Guthrie – District 4

Assistant Principal of the Year

A graduate in 2008 of Purdue with bachelor degrees in chemistry, chemistry education, and biology education, Jonathan Guthrie took his Master of Science in education administration at Butler in 2018. Beginning his career teaching chemistry and biology at North Montgomery High School (Crawfordsville) in 2007, he became assistant principal there in 2014. Outside of school, Jonathan sits on the board of the Drug Free Montgomery County Coalition and has served as vice-president of Volunteers for Mental Health of Montgomery County since 2015. An accomplished presenter on diverse education topics, his proudest achievement is the work he continues to do in implementing applied educational neuroscience into the practice and curriculum of his high school. In response to three student suicides, he and two others took a certification course in Applied Education Neuroscience at Butler. Jonathan asserts that his role in the high school is “to work in conjunction with our students and teachers to create a learning environment where all students are in a calm state of alertness, ready to access their prefrontal cortex for learning, complex thinking, and planning.” His superintendent writes of him, “Mr. Guthrie is the master of conflict resolution and human relations.”

2020 Elementary School Principal of the Year-

Dennisha Murff

Dennisha Murff – District 7

Elementary Principal of the Year

Dennisha Murff earned her Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education and kindergarten/primary education as well as her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Ball State University in 1999. From 1999 to 2003 she taught at Rhoades Elementary School (MSD of Perry Township in Marion County). After earning her Master of Science degree in education through Indiana Wesleyan University in 2002, she became assistant principal at North Wayne Elementary School (MSDPT). Having earned her educational administration licensure at Indiana University in 2004, she has served as principal of Westlake Elementary School (MSDPT) since 2007. In 2017, Dennisha completed work on her Ph.D. in educational leadership through Purdue University. She is proud of the focus on a culturally responsive and equitable learning environment provided for students, staff, and families, especially regarding the involvement of her staff. She used the Equity Audit conducted in 2014 to plan professional learning activities and meets with each staff member to discuss individual student data. Dennisha’s superintendent writes of her, “Dr. Murff has created a culture of excellence. A culture where professional development is focused on delivering a viable high-quality curriculum. A culture where all staff are united in the mission of the school. A culture where student achievement and school spirit have both increased.”

2020 Middle School Principal of the Year-

Crystal Murff Thorpe

Crystal Murff Thorpe – District 5

Middle School Principal of the Year

After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in secondary English education, Crystal Murff Thorpe began her career teaching at Ben Davis High School in 1992. In 1996, she received her Master of Science degree in secondary supervision and administration. Then in 2000, she took on the role of assistant principal at Southport Middle School (MSD Perry Township in Marion County), moving to Fulton Junior High School/Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center in the same role in 2001. Then, in 2007, she became principal of Fishers Junior High School (Hamilton Southeastern Schools), going on to earn her Ph.D. in education administration in 2019. Crystal takes pride in the renewal of purpose for math instruction which led to the school’s participation in a documentary on the subject directed by Vicki Abeles. She also sings the praises of her students’ involvement in the Day of Service implemented in 2018 as well as their successes in the We the People competition in which they have won four national championships. Her superintendent says, “Dr. Thorpe presents as a civic role model.”

2020 High School Principal of the Year-

Matthew Shockley

Matthew Shockley – District 8

High School Principal of the Year

Principal of Avon High School, Matthew Shockley earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Hanover College in 1993 and his Master of Science degree in education from Butler in 1999. Starting his career at Tipton High School in 1993, he first taught special education and then social studies. In 1999, he took on the role of assistant principal there until 2001 when he moved to Center Grove High School in the same position. From 2004 to 2013, Matthew was the principal at Center Grove High School; then, in 2013, he assumed that role at Avon High School. Among his proudest achievements there he counts the Junior Day of Caring in partnership with the United Way. On the same day, seniors, 100 of them trained the prior evening, lead small groups and facilitate team-building activities. For freshmen and their families, he employs a variety of information and orientation events. Additionally, at the invitation of the IDOE, Avon High School adopted the Jobs for America program to help students at risk of not completing high school. In addition, a Work-Based Learning Coordinator reinvigorated the school’s internship program. Under his leadership, his school has achieved numerous academic honors. Matthew’s superintendent characterizes him as “charismatic, forward thinking, and extraordinarily passionate about making a difference in the lives of our youth.”

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