FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2016
COLUMBUS, OH — Randy Jensen, principal of William Thomas Middle School, American Falls, Idaho, is the recipient of the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) 2016 Distinguished Educator Award. The award, supported by the AMLE Foundation Fund, recognizes outstanding practitioners in middle level education—those who have made a significant impact on the lives of young adolescents through exemplary characteristics, leadership, vision, and advocacy. The award will be presented in October 2016 at the 43rd Annual Conference for Middle Level Education in Austin, Texas.
Jensen has worked at William Thomas Middle School for more than 31 years, serving as principal for the last 27 years. Jensen has received many honors including the 2007 Idaho Middle Level Association (IMLA) Educator of the Year, the 2004 Idaho Principal of the Year, and the 2005 NASSP/MetLife National Middle Level Principal of the Year. Additionally, William Thomas Middle School was recognized as a National Showcase School by the Center for Secondary School Redesign in 2008, 2009 and 2013. He has Bachelor and Master of Education degrees from Idaho State University, and was recipient of the university's Professional Achievement Award in 2010.
Jensen served on the AMLE Board of Trustees for five years and currently serves on the National Association of Secondary School Principals Board of Directors, the IMLA Board, and the Idaho Digital Learning Academy Board. In 2005-2009, Jensen was a leader of the Idaho State Department of Education's Middle Level Reform Committee.
For more than 27 years, Jensen has been an advocate for middle level education best practices, Early in his career as principal, Jensen lead his staff in transforming the school into an exemplary middle school, which they have maintained for 25 years with such practices as advisory, teaming, shared leadership, exploratory programs, recognition, and family and community partnership programs. Representatives from more than 50 schools around the world have visited William Thomas Middle School to learn about their school programs and the school has been featured in many AMLE publications, including the book This We Believe in Action.
Jensen focuses on doing what's best for kids, claiming that "I will do whatever it takes to provide our students with the best school possible." He takes every opportunity to get to know them, including taking four students-of-the-week to lunch every week for 27 years, a total of more than 3000 students.
A firm believer in the benefit of sharing and learning from others, Jensen has presented at local, state, and national conferences on the middle school concept. As a Fulbright Scholar in the summer of 2006, Jensen worked with school leaders in Brazil.
Jensen is an active member of his community. He has served the Lion's club as regional youth services coordinator and communications director for more than 20 years, and in 2014 received the International President's Service Award. He has served as president of the community little league baseball association and coached numerous youth sport teams.
According to Dr. Ronald Bolinger, superintendent of American Falls School District, "Mr. Jensen has been a driving force to define and create the essence of meaning of the middle school philosophy. Students in grades six through eight have a unique experience through instruction and activities designed for the mid-level learner under Mr. Jensen's leadership and vision."
"I have met many people who have proven to have the knowledge, charisma, personality, and courage to try and change the world for the better. Randy Jensen is truly one of those people where the education, nurturing, and development of adolescents are concerned," said Jeffrey Read, retired principal of American Falls High School.
About the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)
The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) helps middle grades educators reach every student, grow professionally, and create great schools. A membership association with more than 48,000 teachers, principals, counselors, and others as members, AMLE provides professional learning and networking opportunities to those who work with students ages 10-15. www.amle.org www.amle.org/annual
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