Lovell High School Principal Scott O’Tremba was named Wyoming Secondary School Principal of the Year by the Wyoming Secondary Schools Principals Association. O’Tremba will travel to Washington D.C. in the fall, where he will be recognized along with principals of the year from other states by the National Secondary Schools Principals Association.
O’Tremba was nominated for the award by Big Horn County School District No. 2 Supt. Dan Coe.
“I think Mr. O’Tremba is very deserving of the recognition with his commitment and focus on students,” said Coe. “He is an outstanding high school principal.”
O’Tremba has been LHS principal for eight years. Previously, he was the high school principal at Kemmerer. He has also been a teacher and a guidance counselor during his career in education.
His first job was as a K-12 principal in a rural school near Homer, Alaska. He later took a position in Homer as the middle school principal at a larger school located in town. Originally from Wolf Point, Mont., O’Tremba yearned to be closer to home and landed a job in Kemmerer as a guidance counselor at first and later as a principal before moving to Lovell.
“Lovell High School is a high performing school as demonstrated by its Blue Ribbon School award, it is a state leader with high graduation rates and low dropout rates,” said Coe. “I think it just says it all when we talk about his focus on what’s best for students and the results that we have seen for the students of Lovell High School.
“I think all of that starts with Scott’s ability to develop professional working relationships with his staff and his peers and with parents and students. This really makes a difference.”
Though O’Tremba knew he had been nominated by Coe, he said he was very surprised to receive the honor. The director of the association actually traveled to Lovell to present O’Tremba with a special plaque that was handmade for him by students.
“I really believe that this school is a community school and that’s the approach I’ve always taken as a principal,” said O’Tremba. “I made it a point when I came here to include staff, students and parents. I wanted them all to be involved right away.”
One of the first things O’Tremba did when he became principal of LHS was to form a “stakeholder committee” made up of parents, students and staff members. The committee acts as a team of advisors to O’Tremba.
“Unlike many places, people here are very supportive and involved with the schools,” said O’Tremba. “Parents want to see their kids do really well in all programs from little up. In fact, I think our success at the high school level has a lot to do with what Mrs. Hoffman and the teachers at the elementary school level do while they have the children in their program. The hard work they do there, allows them to have success when they get here.”
O’Tremba credits a great teaching staff, great students and great parents for the success of the school, noting that the school received three advanced proficiency awards in its latest accreditation report.
“I don’t know how many other schools got three advanced proficiencies like we did,” said O’Tremba. “One of those was in teaching and learning and we are very proud of that. That means when the accreditors who walked around and saw what our teachers were doing in the classroom they were very impressed.”
O’Tremba said he heard nothing but positive comments from those accreditors about how the teachers were engaging the students with interactive lessons.
“I think the term used was they were knocking it out of the park,” said O’Tremba.
“I love our kids and I love our teachers and that makes it so much easier for me,” he said. “For me it’s been about hiring really good teachers, keeping really good teachers and working with them in a way that they can trust.”
O’Tremba said he enjoyed being a teacher and enjoyed being a guidance counselor and didn’t necessarily start out with a goal of becoming a principal. He said he was encouraged by others to become a principal. He attributes much of his success at LHS to an entire group effort.
“I feel like this award is just another testimony to our good teachers, our good staff, our good students, our school board and our whole K-12 system, really,” said O’Tremba. “This isn’t the type of award you win on your own.”
by Patti Carpenter