Neah-Kah-Nie School District Community,

I am proud to announce Nehalem Elementary Principal Kristi Woika as the Oregon Small Schools Association Administrator of the Year for 2016!  The Oregon Small Schools Association (OSSA) recognizes one school administrator each year who excels in his/her leadership position.  Criteria for this prestigious award includes integrity, leadership, commitment to community, scholarship, and student achievement.  Principal Woika shines in all of these areas.

Oregon Small Schools Association serves as an advocate for the benefits of rural education and small schools.  As the Oregon Small Schools Association Administrator of the Year for 2016, Principal Woika will “put a face on rural education in Oregon” by sharing her story as a principal of a rural elementary school.  Principal Woika will be recognized June 24 at the Confederation of Oregon School Administrator’s (COSA) conference in Seaside.  At the COSA conference, Principal Woika will share with her administrator colleagues the challenges and celebrations of a principal of a rural Oregon school.

Here is the nomination letter I wrote to Oregon Small Schools Association requesting OSSA consider Principal Woika for this significant award.


Oregon Small Schools Association

2001 SW Nye Avenue

Pendleton, OR 97801

RE:      Kristi Woika, OSSA Administrator of the Year 2016

Dear Oregon Small Schools Association:

I am honored to recommend Kristi Woika as the OSSA Administrator of the Year.  Kristi has been the Nehalem Elementary Principal & Title I Director since 2010 and was the Neah-Kah-Nie High School Principal from 2002-2010.  Kristi deserves this award because she not only understands how a principal of a small school can have a big impact on students and families, she accomplishes what other principals dream of accomplishing.  For the past two years, under Principal Woika’s exemplary collaborative leadership, Nehalem Elementary earned Title IA Model School recognition.  Only the top 5% of Title IA schools in Oregon receive this prestigious recognition!  Nehalem Elementary also earned a Level 5 on the most recent Oregon State Report Card.

There are many reasons why Kristi deserves the 2016 OSSA Administrator of the Year award, I will write about a few of these reasons in this letter.

Kristi, and other volunteer coaches, began SHE Warriors (Sharing Health through Exercise) five years ago for a small group of 4th and 5th grade girls.  Now, there are over 20 SHE Warriors actively involved in this program! This is not just a “running club,” SHE Warriors learn about nutrition, relationship building, volunteering, self-advocacy, empowerment, and goal setting, as well as running.   The popularity of this program has expanded outside Nehalem Elementary, a recent SHE Warrior road race had over 150 participants.

Kristi has nurtured a very positive relationship with North County Recreation District.  This relationship has created many opportunities for youth, including swimming lessons, child care, and a wide-assortment of after school recreational activities.  Kristi also served on the NCRD Youth Council Board.

Kristi has been instrumental in supporting funding for a district-wide preschool program and an elementary literacy coach.  The district preschool and elementary literacy coach have a direct and measurable impact on student achievement.  Kristi’s support of the district preschool, at the expense of program reductions at her own school, demonstrates Kristi’s belief in being a “district principal” before a “building principal.”

Kristi is a district leader in creating and promoting a school calendar that focuses on student learning and professional development.  This year, Neah-Kah-Nie School District implemented a late start Wednesday school calendar that increased professional development opportunities for all staff.  Kristi worked diligently with administrative colleagues to ensure licensed and classified staff received the highest quality professional development.

Kristi is committed to implementing Response to Instruction & Intervention (RtIi) at Nehalem Elementary.   Strong, effective leadership is critical for successful implementation of RtIi.  Kristi is responsible for developing a healthy school culture and vision, establishing standards of practice, effectively allocating resources, installing effective communication loops, and creating leadership structures.  RtIi increases student achievement for all students at Nehalem Elementary.

The Book Bag Program is provided to all intensive and strategic Nehalem Elementary readers.  Individually leveled, high interest, bags of books are given to students to take home and read.  This hugely popular program has increased student access to high interest literature.

Kristi started Family Fun Nights as a way to bring families and school staff together outside of the regular 8:00 to 3:00 school day.  Family Fun Nights are hugely successful and have exceeded the expected goals.

Kristi is a big proponent of using technology as an instructional tool to increase student achievement.  Kristi was instrumental in creating 21st century technology rich classrooms in second to fifth grades.

Kristi models learning by being a learner.  She recently completed her Reading Endorsement and radiates an adult and child culture of learning throughout Nehalem Elementary.

One of the most important ways Kristi contributes to school administration, is mentoring aspiring principals.  Janmarie Nugent, Kristi’s most recent mentee says, “As my administrator mentor, Kristi taught me what a great leader looks like and what great leaders do.”  Kristi must be a great mentor, Janmarie is Garibaldi Grade School’s new principal.

The greatest impact Kristi has on the educational development of staff is to ensure licensed and classified staff have the necessary training, and time, to do their jobs in a caring and efficient manner. Kristi models learning for both classified and licensed staff.  She is a big proponent of late start Wednesdays as an option for all staff to receive sustained, frequent, and relevant professional development.  Kristi started a professional development library for staff and coordinates a staff book club.  

Thank you for considering Kristi Woika as the OSSA Administrator of the Year for 2016.  I cannot think of any small school administrator more deserving of such a prestigious award.  Kristi has the integrity, leadership, and proven student achievement to receive this award.



Paul Erlebach, Superintendent

Neah-Kah-Nie School District