April 27, 2022
The Association of Wisconsin School Administrators has named Stephanie Filter its 2022 Wisconsin Elementary Principal of the Year and Dr. Anuradha Ebbe as its 2022 Wisconsin Secondary Principal of the Year. The Meemic Foundation is a proud sponsor of the awards.
Filter, who has served as the principal of Madison Elementary in the School District of Janesville for the past eight years, is known as a collaborative leader who focuses on bringing people together around shared goals. Over the years, Principal Filter and the staff at Madison worked to identify efforts that would lead to improved educational outcomes by employing research-proven programs and developing a positive culture. Filter attended Madison Elementary School as a child.
A former social worker, Principal Filter worked with a team at Madison Elementary to collaboratively rewrite the school’s mission statement and ensure that students understand it. While students’ needs are ever-changing and the pandemic has introduced new challenges, Madison Elementary School staff, under Principal Filter’s leadership, have developed a culture of positive problem solving and an ongoing focus on the school’s mission.
“We are thrilled to name Stephanie Filter as this year’s Elementary Principal of the Year. By focusing on bringing a school community together around a shared vision and employing thoughtful, research-proven efforts, Stephanie Filter is truly an outstanding educational leader,” said Jim Lynch, executive director of AWSA. “Beyond the academic success of her students, Stephanie Filter has a track record of success in meeting the needs of all of her students, including her most vulnerable students. “
Before becoming principal of Madison Elementary in 2014, Filter served as a Student Services Specialist and Dean of Student/Social Worker in the School District of Janesville.
“Stephanie has worked hard with her team to deliver on our Janesville Promise of having every student known by name, strength, and need,” said Steven Pophal, Superintendent of the School District of Janesville. “She will be the first to say it is a team effort, but her leadership has certainly helped the entire staff at Madison Elementary School remain focused on doing what is best for students.”
Filter received a bachelor’s of social work from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, a master’s of social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a certificate of advanced study in school Administration from Certificate of Advanced Study-School Administration from National Lewis University.
Dr. Anuradha Ebbe
Dr. Ebbe has served as principal of Cherokee Heights Middle School in the Madison Metropolitan School District for the past two years. During that time, she has focused on viewing diversity as a strength, implementing even disciplinary practices and incorporating antiracist practices into the school.
CHMS is a Title I school that offers both an English Language Immersion program and a Spanish dual language immersion program. Its students come from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds, with as many as 13 languages spoken at the school in any given year.
One of Dr. Ebbe’s first steps upon taking on the principal role was to engage the school community into a conversation centered on the book “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. The school used grant funds to purchase 750 copies of the book, and differentiated lessons were crafted for students and parents. Families shared that the book was transformative learning and students identified instances of racism they experienced and voiced recognition of the need to lift each other. Staff members articulated how systemic racism has impacted teaching and learning.
Dr. Ebbe’s leadership has resulted in a school culture committed to antiracism and a healthy, safe and engaged learning environment.
“On behalf of AWSA, I am thrilled to recognize Dr. Anuradha Ebbe with the Wisconsin Secondary Principal of the Year Award,” Lynch said. “During her time at Cherokee Heights, Dr. Ebbe has been willing to have difficult conversations with students, staff and families that ultimately lead to a healthier, positive and more inclusive culture at her school. As a result, the school has made notable improvements and has navigated the many challenges of the pandemic in truly thoughtful and effective ways. This honor is certainly well deserved.”
Prior to serving as principal of CHMS, Dr. Ebbe was principal of Shorewood Hills Elementary School in MMSD. She began her career in education as a high school science and math teacher.
Dr. Ebbe received a public education leadership certificate from Harvard University and an Ed.D. in educational administration from Edgewood College. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in medical microbiology and immunology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Each year, teachers, parents, staff and administrators are asked to nominate principals for the award. The winners are selected by a committee made up of representatives of parents, and classroom, school, and district leaders.
Supported by the Meemic Foundation, the principal of the Year award recognizes school leaders who have helped drive student learning, foster instructional collaboration and create safe and positive school environments. Recipients are selected based on their dedication to professional excellence, leadership skills and service to their communities. To learn more about the award, visit the AWSA website