WARRICK CO., Ind. (WFIE) - Indiana’s Elementary School Principal of the Year was back in school on Monday for the first time since winning the award, and her students wanted to celebrate with her.
A ring, a clock, and an apple: all symbols of recognition of Ashlee Bruggenschmidt’s Indiana Elementary School Principal of the Year award. An award she never thought she’d win.
“I actually thought I was going to Indianapolis to be recognized for the district 11 principal of the year," said Bruggenschmidt. "I mean I knew they pick an elementary principal of the year for the state from all of the 12 districts. I never imagined that I would win for the entire state.”
Bruggenschmidt, who is known to her students as “Mrs. B” has been principal at Sharon Elementary for the last ten years.
As the clock ticked towards the top of the hour, Mrs. B made her way to the gymnasium for another surprise. Chants of “Mrs. B!” rained down from her students and faculty as she entered to confetti and a throne for her to sit on.
Bruggenschmidt said it was all of those people who encouraged her and helped pushed her through all the hardships she faced during her ten years as principal, especially after the loss of her daughter.
“The staff, the students, the community, the parents here, they literally were my saving grace," said Bruggenschmidt. "You know they just continued to believe in me and cheered me on, wanted me, encouraging me to come back and just believing that I could find my way to lead again. I wouldn’t be sitting here today, I wouldn’t be getting this award if it wasn’t for them.”
“It’s not about being an A School," she continued. "It’s not about being a 4-star school, it’s not about being principal of the year, that it’s just about your kids and your staff being successful and so some of those things do indicate that they’re successful but really I just want them to be contributing members of society. To have a positive impact, so when they leave Sharon Elementary doing those things, to me that’s so much more important than a letter grade or an award.”
Afterward, Bruggenschmidt said that she never expected a celebration to like what she received. She said that she hopes to stay at Sharon Elementary for many more years to come.