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The Perspective

The Student News Site of Plymouth-Canton Educational Park

The Perspective

The Student News Site of Plymouth-Canton Educational Park

The Perspective

Salem High School principal named top 5 finalist in Michigan

Salem principal Kimberly Villarosa, was listed as a finalist in the state of Michigan, according to Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.
Salem principal Kimberly Villarosa, was listed as a finalist in the state of Michigan, according to Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.

Salem principal Kimberly Villarosa named finalist in state of Michigan for best principal 

The Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals annually picks a top principal in the state of Michigan, K-12. Once the best principal is selected, these nominees represent Michigan and go to the capitol in Washington, D.C. and compete to become National Principal of the Year. 

In the 2023-24 contest, 23 principals were nominated for the Michigan Top Principal Award. From those, the top five were chosen and then the State Principal of the Year was selected. 

Villarosa was named a finalist. 

According to the MASSP “this year we received double the nominations for this award than in the past few years.”

Wendy Zdeb, Executive Director at MASSP, says the competition follows an established selection process.“So the way that [the principal] is selected, is that people are nominated, you know, somebody from your school nominates.”

Zdeb continued with the process. “Then all of those come in, and we have two different selection committees. So we have a group of MASSP, which is the secondary school principals kind of narrowed down the list of people and pass along the finalists, to our student side, [The Michigan Associations of Student Councils and Honor Societies]. And then they have a committee that picks from there. So the person is like doubly selected, you know, both by their peers, other principals and then by the student leadership side to say, ‘Does this person really support student voice and student leadership as well?’”

Upon hearing she was nominated, Villarosa said her reaction was “surprised. Student Congress nominated me; I was surprised that I was a finalist.”

Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals’ 2024 Principal of the Year Finalists, featuring Salem principal Kimberly Villarosa.

Villarosa has always worked in education. “I taught three years in a different school district, and then I came here. I started at Canton as a teacher. I taught for 13 years, and then I was an assistant principal for seven years. And I’ve been principal for ten.”

Brenda Smith, Administrative Assistant to Principal, says she sees Villarosa’s dedication to the students. “I see [her] being the best principal. I think she cares about her employees on her staff. She also will go out of her way. I’ve seen her treat all students the same. That says a lot.” 

Smith continues about Villarosa. “I think background, anything, she’s always there [for students]. Something happens on the radio. She doesn’t just think someone else can get it. She runs. So she’s probably the first one there because she walks fast and she runs even faster. But she’s the first one there. And she’s the last one to make sure that everything goes well and she’s there for the students as well.”

Dr. Monica Merritt, superintendent of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, praises Villarosa’s leadership at Salem as well. “What I will say first is that [Mrs.] Villarosa is a true champion for students, and she really values the voice of students. So listening to you as students to say how can your environment be better.” 

Salem principal Kimberly Villarosa acts as the obstacle for a BMX rider to jump during the “No Hate Tour” held in Salem’s gym. Sept. 2023.
Photo: Garrett Barr

Outside of the school building, Villarosa loves to spend time with her family, especially her kids, as they have moved out, she does not get to see them often anymore. She also likes to go boating.

Villarosa says her most important duty as principal is to hire teachers. “When you hire a teacher, you could affect literally, if they stay 30 years, over 150 students a year. That’s a lot of kids that they have influence over.”

Dr. Merritt, the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators 2023 Superintendent of the Year, expresses her excitement for this achievement of Villarosa’s. “It is super exciting. I’m so proud of her for that accomplishment. I think for the accolades, but to have someone outside of the district, see and acknowledge her hard work in the fact that she’s such a champion for children and have her as a finalist in the state of Michigan,” said Merritt. “It just makes me so incredibly proud for her, happy for our staff, and happy for our students in particular.”

Smith shows her appreciation of Villarosa. “I think she, she’s a rock star, which is good to say it because we’re the Rocks!

Villarosa has words of advice for students at the Park. “You may not choose to go to college, but I just hope that the biggest takeaway is that you learn to interact with people some that might not always be just like you. I think that that is the best thing that students can do for themselves is take advantage of the positive parts of the Park and take that with them moving forward to whatever they do in life.”

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Garrett Barr
Garrett Barr, Guest writer
Garrett Barr has a third degree black belt in taekwondo. He is a rising senior at Salem High School. His first introduction into writing was when he wrote the speech for his fifth grade graduation. In ninth grade he wrote a five page essay about the different types of taekwondo for his third degree black belt promotion. Outside of writing, Barr is passionate about cooking, especially grilled burgers, in addition to helping people and sports. He has traveled to many locales, including the Wisconsin Dells and several spots in Florida. His background is mostly Irish, but also part Scottish, Italian and Polish. He lives at home with his younger sister and his two dogs, Lexi and Dakota. He is eager to write more articles and is looking forward to working on the Perspective in 2024-25.
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