Dr. Roach wins Administrator of the Year

Claire Chien and Abigail Fang

Northwood Principal Leslie Roach received the Marcus Foster Memorial Award for Administrator Excellence through the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) on March 8 after being nominated by Northwood staff.

The Marcus Foster Memorial Award is meant to recognize school administrators that demonstrate exemplary leadership and foster educational opportunities. Recipients receive a $5,000 grant to support their school’s seniors.

“Dr. Roach is a big reason why Northwood is a successful school and why the community is thriving,” IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker said. “It’s how she treats people, how she advocates for staff and how she adapts to manage the school.”

Roach has served as Northwood’s principal since 2007. Her determination and flexibility as principal can be seen most notably in her response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recommendation letter from Northwood staff. They cited how Roach constantly strived to offer support to students who struggled with distance learning, whether it was by creating support classes, hosting staff development or making home visits.

“Never daunted by any obstacle, Dr. Roach’s ability to look at challenges from multiple perspectives and find creative solutions is what inspires those who work with her,” Northwood staff said in their recommendation.

In turn, Roach expressed her own gratitude for the rest of Northwood staff.

“The staff here has been willing to take on challenges over the years to do better for the next group of students,” Roach said. “Sometimes that means mass change and sometimes that means smaller things like improving their own classrooms each day, and I don’t take that for granted.”

Roach will continue on as a finalist for ACSA’s State Administrator of the Year Award, which will have its results announced on March 29.

“I feel really proud and lucky to be a member of the Northwood community,” Roach said. “Northwood is a place where students and staff alike care a lot for each other, and it shows in everything they do.”