AHS grad joins top principals in D.C.
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:02 PM
A 1971 graduate of Arlington High School, Karen Larson Pyron has been named National Distinguished Principal in Idaho for the year 2007. She is the daughter of the late Carston and Margaret Larson, of Silvana, and sister to Mike Larson.
I am very proud of my little sister, Mike Larson said when he called The Arlington Times about the news.
Pyron joined 60 other principals from across the country who were honored Oct. 19 with an awards banquet at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C. The 2007 National Distinguished Principals were honored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the U.S. Department of Education.
Behind every great school, youll find a great principal, said U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. I applaud NAESP for honoring these talented educators who are making a real difference for families nationwide.
Pyron was nominated by her fellow principals in a statewide search. She was proud to represent Idaho at the NDP Ceremonies in D.C. and was honored by her colleagues a week later at the 2007 annual meeting of the Idaho Association of Elementary School Principals.
I think it has a lot to do with commitment to the community, Pyron said about why she was chosen. Ive spent my entire career here in Arco.
She and her husband Chuck Pyron raised two children, both graduates of the University of Idaho. Jason, 25, is a fish biologist with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and Rachel, 22, just completed her degree in early childhood development and education.
Pyron acknowledged two people at Arlington High School that contributed to her success.
Joyce Wold and Nelda Ulery made a big difference in my life, she said. One day, as I was walking by Mrs. Wolds office, she called me in and asked me what my plans were. I said I planned to continue working as a receptionist at Dr. Jack Ericksons dental office, Pyron remembered back. But Joyce said no, you will go to college, Pyron said. She never considered college because she knew her parents couldnt afford it.
I didnt know there was such a thing as financial aid.
After graduating, Pyron attended Everett Community College and then continued on to Washington State University and Idaho State University. She taught high school English, speech, reading and debate at Butte High School and has served as principal at Arco Elementary School since 1998. All 31 years of her career have been in education in Butte County schools in Arco.
Pyrons superintendent, Dr. Amy Panchiere, said that Pryon always spends the extra minute with her students.
Karen is the kind of committed principal who spends extra time and energy at her school and with her students, said Panchiere.
She is seen in the halls during class changes and on the playground during recess. She knows all of her students and is interested in their achievement, both academically and socially.
The criteria for the award includes being an active principal for five years with a clear commitment to the academic and social needs of all students through ties with the parents and local business organizations in the community. The award goes to principals who are respected by students, colleagues, parents and the community at large, and who are leaders in civic, religious and humanitarian activities.
Pyron has received a variety of service and teaching awards in her career, especially in the 15 years she served as debate coach. She has volunteered at local, regional and state levels in a variety of professional capacities.
I have served on a lot of state committees. I was a regional representative for the Idaho Elementary Principals association and on school improvement committees, debate coach, tournaments and debate committees.
Pyrons mother and father operated a farm near Silvana until 1960 when they sold out and moved to Arlington, according to Mike Larson.
After we moved into Arlington, Karen was very active in school, Little League and Our Saviours Lutheran Church, he said.
It was overwhelming, Pyron said about the ceremonies in D.C. It was very awe inspiring. It takes a while to settle in, she said. The award was announced at the state level in February, but it didnt hit until she was there in D.C.
I felt very proud to represent all the principals in Idaho, Pyron said. And honored to be selected by my colleagues and superintendent.
Today would be my moms 97th birthday, Pyron said on Nov. 23.
Washington states top principal is Cheryl L. Boze, of Odyssey Elementary School in Everett.