October is an opportunity to show your appreciation for Walla Walla Public Schools’ principals in celebration of National Principal Appreciation Month. The school district recognizes the essential role principals play in providing opportunities for students to realize their potential and follow their dreams.
This month the district will spotlight its principals as a way of thanking them for their service. Berney Elementary Principal Michelle Carpenter is a self-described Blue Devil through and through. She was born in Bridgeport, TX to Skip and Paula Nichols.
Carpenter has logged 21 years of experience as a K-5 teacher, and has spent the last six years of her career as Principal at Berney Elementary. She attended Western Washington University where she earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Spanish and Math. She continued her education at Eastern Washington University earning a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and she has an Administrative Credential from Gonzaga University. Michelle is a National Board Certified teacher and she serves as a mentor to current educators seeking their national board certificate.
Carpenter says she dedicated her professional career to education because she believes growing and continually being willing to learn is a gift. She believed she could help students, families and adults embrace lifelong learning and considers it an honor to watch this in action. Michelle says her mom and dad are her most influential educators.
“My mom was a teacher and my dad was active in PTA, sports, music and any other activity I chose to participate in,” said Carpenter. “They taught me to be respectful of everyone, learn everything I can, and to be relentless in the pursuit of what my heart desires.”
These days Michelle and her husband Michael of 25 years are “empty nesters” as sons Jacob (21) and Nicholas (19) are busy starting their young adult lives. When she is not working, Michelle enjoys playing with her dogs, cooking, watching podcasts and walking.
Here's what staff are saying about Michelle:
“I love working with Michelle because she is kind and caring to the students and staff at Berney and it shows in the culture of the school. She isn't afraid to be silly and try new things if it is in the best interest and engages kids. She makes time to be IN the classrooms teaching lessons to ensure she still understands the classroom perspective.” - Tara Jasper, District Library Technician.
“Her realness makes me feel like I am not alone and that I can do all the hard things because of her honesty and inspiration of just being herself and encouraging me to do the same.” - Carrie Gonzales, 3rd Grade Teacher
Michelle Carpenter loves being the principal and is a shining example of someone who has dedicated her career to supporting children and families.