Thursday, March 16, 2023

Top of the class

Northville High School principal is named best in state

Wendy Zdeb, executive director of the Michigan Association
of Secondary School Principals, presented the Principal of the
Year award to Northville High School principal Tony Koski
during a student pep assembly last week. Koski will now
represent Michigan in the national principal of the year competition. 
Northville High School principal Tony Koski received quite a surprise during a school student pep rally last week.

Along with the assembled students and teachers, Wendy Zdeb, executive director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, was on hand to present Koski with the award as Michigan 2023 Principal of the Year.

Koski was visibly surprised at the award which designates him as the state representative in the National Association of Secondary School Principals competition set for October in Washington, D.C

“The students, families and community that is Northville Public Schools are incredibly fortunate that Principal Tony Koski chose us as his professional and personal home. Mr. Koski possesses levels of humility and will that inspire those who serve beside him and those he serves to get after it every single day. Mr. Koski has impacted the lives of so many in a way that will stay with them and us forever and we are all humbly grateful,” said Dr. RJ Webber, superintendent of Northville Public Schools.

Koski was nominated by Northville High School Assistant Principal Emily Aluia and she was not alone in her praise for his work. There was an outpouring of support for his nomination from the community; from previous and current colleagues; employees; teachers; students and parents.

Every letter of support mentioned his unwavering commitment and passion for the students.

“Northville High School is a better, stronger, safer and more inclusive community as a result of Tony Koski's leadership, heart, and love for students,” said Mary Kay Gallagher, recently retired Northville Public Schools superintendent.

Parent Teacher Student Association President Jodie Rodens explained that Koski is a joy to work with because of his positive and encouraging attitude. Previous Northville Assistant Superintendent Dave Rodgers agreed.

“I had the pleasure of collaborating with Tony both as a colleague and as a parent,” Rodgers said. “He is a person of great heart and integrity.”

Koski has more than 30 years in education, 20 as an administrator and nine years at Northville High School leading more than 2,500 students and 200 faculty members. Throughout the nominations, Koski was described as a mentor, an advocate and a friend.

“Friendship encompasses all the important qualities of a leader. Friends are loyal, nonjudgmental and are there for you when times get tough,” Northville High School senior Zach Ajluni said. “Mr. Koski has displayed these traits time and time again.”

Additional words used to describe Koski included dedicated, inclusive, supportive and influential.

“I can honestly say I would not be the educator I am without his support,” said Kelsey Mikiciuk, special education teacher, department chair and Unified Champion School coordinator at the high school.

Koski has helped Northville expand post-secondary pathways, increased focus on evidence-based instructional practices, improved student support for academic, social-emotional and mental health needs and created a more student-centered and inclusive school community, explained Aluia in the nomination.

“His effectiveness as a leader is amplified by his clear vision of quality teaching and learning, unmatched dedication, robust communication with all community stakeholders and a determination to ensure that every student experiences social, emotional and academic success to their greatest potential,” said Rebecca Peck, Northville Public Schools assistant superintendent of communications, development and equity.

To be eligible for the award, nominees demonstrate a sense of collaborative leadership, involvement in curriculum, instruction and assessment as well as a personal positive involvement with district staff, students and families.

“Mr. Koski has repeatedly shown that to him being a principal is not just a job - it's a lifestyle,” said Ajluni in Koski's student letter of recommendation.

“It seemed only fitting that this award be presented to Koski at the conclusion of NHS's Inclusion Week. Tony is a humble leader and always keeps the most important piece of education at the forefront, the students.

“It is an honor to have him representing Michigan as the 2023 Principal of the Year,” said Zdeb, after presenting Koski with the award.

The selection committee for the award includes students and principals from the Michigan Student Leadership Board of Delegates and the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals Board of Directors.