Prairie Hill Elementary Principal honored with Puri-Golden Apple - – Rockford’s News Leader

Prairie Hill Elementary Principal honored with Puri-Golden Apple Foundation Outstanding Principal Award


Kathy Noorlag has worked at Prairie Hill Elementary school for 16 years, and for the past five years she has worked with Principal Kevin Finnegan, the winner of the 2016 Puri-Golden Apple Foundation Outstanding Principal Award

"He just makes it fun to come to work everyday.  He knows everyone's name... He's amazing." Noorlag said.

"I tell my wife all the time... I have the best job.. I have the easiest job. I hang out with kids... I tell stories. I listen to stories. And I get to enjoy my job everyday." Finnegan said.

Originally a teacher in the classroom... Finnegan was reluctant to move into an administration role in fear of losing interaction with students. 

"I didn't want to be seen as this scary figure that I come talk to you tense up... especially when you're dealing with 5- or 6-year-olds. 

A trip to the principals office can be a nerve wracking experience, but at prairie hill... Its something kids look forward to especially on their birthday. 

"I have 400 kids here and I'm fortunate enough to sit down with them on their birthday," Finnegan said, "They pick out a book, we read it together, I sign it then they sign my wall here." 

Something that has created such a positive culture at their school.

Today Finnegan received an honor of a lifetime... But to him the best award is walking through the halls everyday. 

"I get that praise every day... kids come give me high fives they come give me a hug. You know I've got notes that say "you're the best principal... for many of them I'm their only principal.. but whatever if they want to think I'm the world's best that's fine with me!" 

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