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2023 Founder’s Award Recipient: Desert Thunder School, Arizona

Desert Thunder School in Avondale Elementary School District, Arizona, received the 2023 NIET Founder’s Award and its $50,000 grand prize.

Principal Ryan LoMonaco and his leadership team are building the capacity of teachers through dedicated time for collaboration and school-based professional learning, creating a positive learning environment for teachers and students alike.

"As a seasoned educator but a leader new to this school in the past year, introducing NIET's recommendations into our approaches to education has allowed me to ask questions and see the curriculum in a new light," said LoMonaco. "As a result of investing time, effort, and resources into developing the professional capital of the staff and the distributed leadership at Desert Thunder, I have had the privilege of learning alongside my staff as we grow together."

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“The power of recognition is one of the strongest forces for stimulating human and social action. Yes, recognition is a powerful motivator—to those who receive it as well as those who observe it.”  - Lowell Milken