By Randy Rendfeld
The Herald Bulletin
---- — PENDLETON — A parade of young students marched Wednesday though the halls of Pendleton Elementary School in honor of their assistant principal.
Matt Davis, Pendleton Elementary School assistant principal, was recently named the Indiana Assistant Elementary Principal of the Year.
The Indiana Association of School Principals awarded the honor to Davis last Saturday at a conference in downtown Indianapolis. Davis said he was surprised when nearly half the Pendleton school staff showed up at the meeting.
"I've been to a lot of these conferences where they award the assistant principals and principals of the year," Davis said. "And I am proud to say this is the first time I have ever seen a staff show up. When they announced my name and opened the doors, I'd say about 30 of my staff came into the room.
"So it was quite a surprise and a shock. I was honored to have the superintendent there, the principal, the teachers, nurse, secretary, instructional assistants. So it was very special last Saturday."
Earlier in 2013, assistant principals of the year were chosen from 12 Indiana districts. Davis was selected for the highest honor among those 12.
On Wednesday morning, a congratulatory parade was held with all students marching through the halls.
Davis has been a principal and has taught every grade from kindergarten to fourth. He began his career in education in 1994 working with Anderson's School on Wheels program. He taught at Edgewood Elementary School, then worked at Hamilton Southeastern, Rushville and Beech Grove schools.
Asked what his dream job might be, Davis said, "I love working with children, students, staff. I like my job. I love what I do. I love the school district. So it's not that I'm looking for change. I can make change in what I'm doing right now. So I'm happy, content."
The IASP cited Davis' attributes including:
- Davis visits each class at the beginning of the school year. "He strives to have a personal connection with each of his students." He eats with each student twice each year.
- Davis dresses up as Johnny Appleseed and retells the character's life story each March. He also dresses like the Cat in the Hat and reads Dr. Seuss books to students.
- The Pendleton school has a connection with Riley Hospital Kids Caring and Sharing Program, and Davis has been active with Riley for 18 years. "His hope is that the students grow by learning to give without expecting anything in return."
- As reward for meeting annual goals, Davis has been known to takes pies in the face, kiss a pig, sleep on the school roof, get duct-taped to the wall and let students throw water balloons at him.
Contact Randy Rendfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org or 640-4861.
Family Ties Matt Davis and wife, Sharilyn, have three sons, twins Max and Sam, 12, and Quinn, 8. They live in Noblesville.