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Popular Dexter McCarty administrator surprised and touched by the big honor

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Amy Nimz, from Dexter McCarty Middle School, was named 2020 Oregon assistant principal of the year. Amy Nimz, assistant principal of Dexter McCarthy Middle School, was named 2020 Oregon Assistant Principal of the Year at a school assembly Thursday morning.

Students broke out in chants of "Nimz, Nimz, Nimz" as Nimz accepted her award.

"I'm super overwhelmed right now. I'm super blessed to be on a really awesome team here at Dexter McCarty," Nimz said, tearing up, holding a bouquet of flowers and her blue glass award.

"She truly is one of our superstars," Gresham-Barlow School District Superintendent Katrise Perera told the assembled Hornets on Thursday, Oct. 31.

Nimz has been assistant principal at Dexter McCarty for seven years.

John Koch, executive director of K-12 education and a former principal at Clear Creek Middle School, said after he hired Nimz in 2004 to teach at Clear Creek, she showed herself to be "a true teacher leader."

Prior to Clear Creek, Nimz taught eighth grade Spanish at West Orient Middle School for one year and then Spanish and humanities at Clear Creek Middle School.

Her first teaching job was a long-term substitute position at the immense David Douglas High School, where she was often mistaken for a student and asked for her hall pass.

Nimz grew up in Gladstone and earned her undergraduate degree at Western Oregon University and her master's degree in education and administrative credentials from Concordia University.

Dexter McCarty Principal John George praised Nimz, saying, "perhaps the best thing about Amy is her ability to work with and relate to students. She gets it. She is exceptional at taking a difficult situation and using a calming positive approach to bring a resolution."

He said "she is as directed to her profession and her job as anyone I've had the pleasure to work with."

Nimz has led significant growth in the school's AVID program for seventh and eighth graders. AVID, a successful national program, improves educational outcomes and college readiness for students who often don't think of themselves as college material.

Nimz serves on the district AVID leadership team, providing leadership, guidance and training for other teachers.

Nimz also has played a big role in Gresham-Barlow's push for culturally responsive teaching. She was nominated in part because of her work leading school-wide practices that "recognize the functions of culture, the impacts of poverty and how trauma affects student learning," an announcement of her award said.

The award puts her in the running for the title of national assistant principal of the year.

The award is given by the Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators.

Nimz will be honored at a formal presentation at the 2020 COSA annual conference in Seaside in June and at a national conference in July in Baltimore.

Nimz is somewhat flustered by her recognition. She said: "I love my job. I work with so many others that are equally deserving. But, it's very lovely to be recognized."


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