“Heart for education” leads Little Cypress Elementary assistant principal to statewide honor

Published 10:51 am Monday, April 3, 2023

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Focusing on building trusting relationships with students and teachers, Sommer Reynolds has created a nurturing and engaging learning environment at Little Cypress Elementary School.

Reynolds’ leadership and commitment to learners led her to be named the 2023 National Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year for Texas by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association.

“Sommer has a heart for education and draws on her experience as a former teacher and librarian to ensure her students and teachers feel seen, heard, valued, and supported,” TEPSA Executive Director Harley Eckhart said.

“Her optimism and collaborative leadership have led her campus to make incredible gains in student achievement during the last two years.”

Reynolds never loses sight of her ‘why’ and is intentional in building relationships with her school community.

According to the Association, she greets students as they arrive each morning and uses her love of reading to encourage them throughout the day. To connect with staff and community members during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, she started a book club that became so popular that it continues to meet today.

Reynolds leads the school district’s art integration partnership with the Lutcher Theater and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and has worked with teachers on her campus to incorporate movement and art into their lessons.

“Sommer’s exuberance and connection with staff, dedication to the fidelity of instruction, and excitement about reading have helped propel our campus forward,” Principal Amber Hawk wrote in her recommendation letter.

“The campus has thrived with Sommer’s leadership, and Little Cypress Elementary is indebted to the sacrifices she has made to build up her colleagues and students.”

The National Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year for Texas award is sponsored by TEPSA in coordination with the National Association of Elementary School Principals. The award recognizes assistant principals who have demonstrated a positive impact on students and learning.

“We are honored to recognize exceptional leaders like Sommer,” said Lori Gray, Horace Mann Agency Consultant said. “Her leadership skills are making others better and having a lasting impact on both her students and staff. It is a great privilege to salute Sommer and all that she has done in making a difference in the educational experience for those on her campus!”