Minnieville Elementary School Principal, Assistant Principal earn distinguished honors
Posted on 04/26/2019
Nathaniel Provencio, principal of Minnieville Elementary showing award to students.The Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals (VAESP) has selected Nathaniel Provencio, principal of Minnieville Elementary School, as Virginia's recipient of the 2019 NAESP National Distinguished Principal Award and Deborah Ellis, Minnieville Elementary assistant principal, as Virginia’s recipient of the 2019 NAESP National Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year Award. This is the first time in the 45-year history of VAESP that the recipients of these two prestigious awards were selected from the same school in the same year.

Provencio and Ellis received their awards in a double surprise presentation in front of students, community, staff, and family at their school on April 25. Dr. Steven L. Walts, Superintendent of Schools, presented congratulatory remarks. Diane Raulston, Neabsco District School Board Member; Todd Erickson, associate superintendent; Elizabeth R. Guzman, Virginia House of Delegates, 31st District; Jim Baldwin, executive director, VAESP; Andrew Buchheit, president-elect of VAESP and Principal of T. Clay Woods Elementary; and Amy Larsen, Northern Zone director for VAESP and Principal of Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary all attended the event. Members of both of their families attended, as well.

“At Minnieville, our vision states that we ‘Soar for Excellence’ and we do everything we can to live up to this standard,” Provencio said after winning the award. “We have phenomenal teachers, families, and students! Being a part of this outstanding school culture is truly amazing. I am so honored to be named the Virginia National Principal of the Year, but even more honored to share this recognition with our outstanding Assistant Principal Deborah Ellis, who also won the Virginia Outstanding Assistant Principal of the year.”

“I am humbled and honored to receive the National Outstanding Assistant Principal award that recognizes the multi-facets of the assistant principalship,” Ellis said. “It was more special to have received the award alongside my principal Nathaniel Provencio, the 2019 National Distinguished Principal.”

Both Provencio and Ellis were nominated and selected by fellow administrators through a statewide search process conducted by VAESP. Criteria for selection is set by the associations and require that the honorees are active principals/assistant principals of schools where programs are designed to meet and exceed the academic and social needs of all students and where there are firmly established community ties with parents and local business organizations.

Provencio holds a bachelor's degree from the University of North Alabama, Florence AL, and his master's degree from George Mason University. He has served as a principal of Minnieville Elementary for nine years and previously served as assistant principal at both Bel Air and McAuliffe Elementary Schools.

Ellis holds a bachelor’s degree from Bennett College in Greensboro, NC, and a master’s degree from Trinity University, Washington, DC. She has served as assistant principal of Minnieville Elementary for nine years and previously served as assistant principal at West Gate Elementary.