Pine Tree Elementary Principal Dana Stiner is the 2023 Washington State Elementary Principal of the Year

David Morrill, Communications & Technology Director, AWSP
Jan 11, 2023



Dana Stiner headshot

Kent School District Principal Grows Distinguished Teachers and a Culture of Hope

OLYMPIA — Dana Stiner, principal at Pine Tree Elementary School in the Kent School District, was named this year’s Washington State Elementary Principal of the Year. Stiner will also be recognized at the national level by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). She will be recognized with winners from other states as one of NAESP’s National Distinguished Principals.

Personable. Trusted. Genuine. These are just a few of the qualities describing Kent School District Principal Dana Stiner. She’s one of those people you wish you could clone – and so are the outcomes of her achievements. 

Dr. Stiner is in her sixth year as principal at Pine Tree Elementary. Before her arrival, the school had four different principals in four years. Turnover was high, student behavior was a challenge, and bullying was on the rise. Dana worked closely with staff to create a plan that included a positive reward system, social skills training, and developing a culture where everyone felt heard. Her team’s work resulted in an environment where students thrived socially and academically and where students looked forward to going each day.

Dr. Stiner’s dedication to knowing each student and staff member individually is part of what lends to the positive culture. Kent School District Executive Director Dr. Christine Avery explains, “Dr. Stiner is a distinguished instructional leader that knows every student by name/strength/need, is in every classroom every day, engages in side-by-side coaching daily with teachers, and has earned the trust and respect of her diverse families and community.” 

Dr. Stiner also knows how to mix learning with fun. For example, she dreamed up the idea of a vending machine for books. Her office manager was able to acquire an old vending machine and convert it to hold books. Now the vending machine has become part of the school’s PBIS reward system. 

When asked about Dr. Stiner, there is no shortage of praise from her team. Dr. Avery writes, “Dana is the most deserving principal for this award because she improves the lives of children every day. She changes the trajectory of a student’s life by growing distinguished teachers and creating a school environment focused on learning, a sense of belonging, hope, and joy. She is relentless on her focus to improve curriculum, instruction, and assessment and thereby achieves closing achievement, opportunity, and equity gaps for her students.”

National Distinguished Principal of the Year Program
Stiner will be honored next fall in Washington D.C. as part of the National Distinguished Principal of the Year program, sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education. All state winners participate in a series of events and activities over the course of two days, culminating in a formal awards banquet. There is no national winner at the elementary level.      

Download the press release (PDF)

For More Information 

David Morrill | Communications & Technology Director | (800) 562-6100


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