By Cheryl Magness
Scott D. Browning, principal of St. Paul Lutheran School in Fort Worth, Texas, has been selected as a 2020 National Distinguished Principal (NDP) by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).
He credits, in large part, his fellow staff at St. Paul.
“It is an honor to be selected,” Browning said. “I know that much of that award is due to the fact that our faculty and staff are top-notch educators. This team of teachers here at St. Paul Lutheran is committed to excellence and passionate about Christian education.”
The NDP award was established in 1984 to recognize elementary and middle-level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for the students, families and staffs in their learning communities. Dr. Rebecca Schmidt, director of LCMS School Ministry, said Browning “was nominated and chosen by his peers through a nationwide search process and is one of three private school educators selected by NAESP.”
Browning holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from Concordia University Nebraska (CUNE), Seward, Neb., and a master’s in Educational Administration from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, Ark. He previously taught at St. Michael Lutheran School, Fort Myers, Fla., and Christ Lutheran School, Little Rock, Ark., in addition to serving as Christ Lutheran’s director of Development and Marketing. He also served as principal at Immanuel Lutheran School in Memphis, Tenn. He and his wife, Kristen, who also graduated from CUNE, have four children who range in age from 10 to 21.
“Kristen is so supportive of me as a school leader,” Browning said. “She’s a rock star mom, wife and children’s ministry leader. I am so thankful that she understands the commitment it takes to serve as an effective leader.”
According to the NAESP website, the National Distinguished Principal award program is based on three fundamental ideas:
- Children’s attitudes toward learning and their perceptions of themselves as lifelong learners are established in the beginning school years.
- The scope and quality of children’s educational experiences are determined primarily by the school principal, who establishes, through the important work of teachers and the support of caring parents, the character of a particular school’s program.
- The dedication and enthusiasm of the outstanding principals who guide children’s early education experiences should be acknowledged to both show appreciation for their work as well as to allow them to serve as models for others in the field.
“Today’s principals are tasked with attending to students’ social and emotional needs at greater levels, even while they give their all to drive academic success in their school communities,” said Dr. L. Earl Franks, CAE, NAESP’s executive director. “NAESP’s National Distinguished Principals program recognizes the outstanding leadership of highly successful principals and is a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to outstanding school leaders.”
In previous years, NAESP honorees have traveled to Washington, D.C., to be honored at a two-day event that has included an awards banquet as well as a tour of area attractions. This year, however, the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and honorees have been invited to participate in a 2021 event instead.
Nevertheless, Browning said he is honored to be recognized.
“I have been incredibly blessed to have had several men and women in my life who have invested time in the development of my leadership,” Browning said. “They have modeled and taught me how to lead a Lutheran school.
“As my fellow leaders know, it can be incredibly challenging. The call to leadership is filled with joys and sorrows, successes and failures. It is encouraging to be recognized for the successes God has allowed to happen in our school ministry. While I received the award, all glory and praise go to God.”
Posted Dec. 3, 2020