Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Exeter-Milligan Administrator chosen Principal of the Year

Keeping a secret for three weeks is difficult, but when the secret has to be hidden from Exeter-Milligan’s Principal Laura Kroll, the challenge is enormous.


Meeting that challenge were Exeter-Milligan Superintendent Paul Sheffield, along with counselor Denice Kovanda and office manager Jackie Yound, as well as Kroll’s family.  They made sure that Kroll was present on Friday, March 24 in Kearney at the Nebraska Rural Community School Association Spring conference to be presented the well-deserved Principal of the Year.


It was a no-brainer for Sheffield to nominate Kroll for the award, “I nominated Laura as she is SO deserving of this award.  She is a student-centered servant leader. There has NEVER been a time when she has wondered, ‘what's in it for me.’  She has the attitude, ‘what can I do to help make our teachers better and how that can make a better educational experience for our students.”

To say Kroll was surprised is an understatement, “It was very unexpected. I’m not sure I have ever been more honored to have received any award than I am receiving this one. It really means a lot to be recognized for a job I thoroughly enjoy doing.” 

Sheffield added, "If there were a picture in the encyclopedia of an outstanding principal, it would be Laura. In a nutshell – she just ‘gets it.’  She has that “it” quality that defines an outstanding principal, leader, and person.”

When asked what qualities make a good principal Kroll responded, “I’m sure there’s a long laundry list of qualities that make a good principal. I’ve never really sat down and listed the characteristics, but I can tell you that I hope the students and staff at EM can say that I am someone who cares and wants the best for our school and every individual in it. I hope they feel that I am approachable and that they can come to me at any time for help. I hope the students and staff know that I’m going to be upfront and honest with them at all times no matter how tough the conversations might be. I hope I’m viewed as firm but fair. Lastly, I hope they know that I do my best each day to leave the building having made a positive impact of some sort that day.” 

She has been in education for 31 years with the last 13 as Exeter-Milligan principal (six years as elementary only) and has a difficult time talking about her strengths, “I’m an analyzer. I was recently given a shirt that says, “Excuse me while I over analyze this”. People give me grief about this all the time, but I choose to look at it as a positive trait instead of a negative one. I’m just not one to make rash decisions. I think my overthinking things drives Paul crazy, so that’s a bonus! ;)  I also think I’m pretty good at building relationships. I feel very good about the rapport I have with the staff, students, and community members.”

The award from NRCSA, notes on their website they have 220 member schools, Educational Service Units, and State colleges in 90 counties and 25 legislative districts across Nebraska. 


To top off her recognition on Monday morning the entire student body surprised Kroll in the commons with cookies, balloons, flowers and handmade cards congratulating her on the award.  The students each gave her a high-five, hug or a handshake.








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