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IPS names west side principal as 2024 Principal of the Year

Valerie Clark, principal of Ernie Pyle School 90 on Indianapolis' west side, was named 2024 Principal of the Year in a surprise announcement on Oct. 23, 2023. (Provided Photo/Indianapolis Public Schools)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools gifted one west side school principal a wonderful surprise when they named her 2024 Principal of the Year.

Valerie Clark, head of Ernie Pyle School 90, was granted the title during a surprise announcement on Monday.

IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said in a release that Clark is an “unwavering beacon of dedication and leadership.”

“Valerie’s tireless efforts in improving student test scores and fostering a dynamic work environment for her staff exemplify her commitment to education and the betterment of her school community. With her guidance, Ernie Pyle thrives as a place where both students and educators can reach their full potential,” Johnson said in a release.

Clark said in the release, “The most rewarding aspect of being a principal is rewarding students for making growth. Growing academically, socially, and behaviorally is just as important as being proficient on standardized tests.”

The Principal of the Year award honors principals who “go beyond the day-to-day demands to create an exceptional educational environment.”

Clark has been an educator with IPS for 28 years. Clark earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from IUPUI, and a master’s degree at Indiana Wesleyan University.