Principal Mick Wykis talks to students as they swing past during lunch at Sears Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon. A statewide group is giving him their 2004 Alaska Distinguished Principal award.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Sears Elementary School Principal Mick Wykis has been around.
A 19-year employee of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Wykis has worked at elementary and high schools in Tyonek, Kasilof, Soldotna and now Kenai. And after nearly two decades of service to the district, his next stop will be Anchorage, where he'll travel Monday to receive a top award for elementary school principals.
Wykis has been named the 2004 recipient of the Distinguished Principal Award by the Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals. The award is given each year after a statewide nomination process conducted by the group, according to AAESP Vice President David Kingsland.
"It requires them to be active principals of schools where programs are designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students and where there are firmly established community ties with parents and local business organizations," Kingsland said.
Wykis certainly fits the criteria. He started his career in the district as a teacher at Bartlett School in Tyonek before moving to the peninsula to become an administrator. He's worked as an assistant principal, athletic director and principal at Soldotna High School, Tustumena Elementary, Kenai Central High and, for the past six years, Sears Elementary in Kenai.
"I've done a lot of different things," he said Tuesday.
Kingsland said the honor is the highest award that can be bestowed on a principal in the state of Alaska.
It's so prestigious, in fact, that it's not even awarded each year.
"Some years it's given out and some years it's not," he said. "The person must be very qualified."
Wykis said it's fitting to get the award while teaching at Sears, a place he considers to be his favorite place to work.
"This is the most rewarding position I've had," he said.
Wykis said he believes the award is a credit not only to him, but to the people he works with at Sears.
"We have a tremendous staff here," he said. "This is just a validation of the tremendous work they put in every day."
KPBSD Superintendent Donna Peterson noted in a press release sent out in conjunction with the announcement that Wykis' work has been a credit to the children who have come through Sears during his tenure.
"His vision, leadership, his ability to find winning solutions for issue, and his dedication to children is apparent to all," she said.
Wykis said that at Sears, he's excited to go to work every day because of the high caliber of teachers and staff members who help him keep things running smoothly.
In addition, he said the children at Sears make his job an easy one to go to each morning.
"It's very rewarding to work with the kids, but we have such a great staff that working with them is just as rewarding," he said. "It's just a great place to work."
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