Notable Nevadans

RECOGNIZING PRINCIPAL KATIE DECKER

HON. DEAN HELLER

OF NEVADA

IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE

July 23, 2015

Mr. HELLER. Mr. President, today, I wish to recognize Principal Katie Decker for her unwavering dedication to the Clark County School District and to the Las Vegas community. Her contributions to the local school district have had tremendous positive impacts, which will be felt by future generations of Clark County students for years to come.

Throughout her 25 years in the district, Principal Decker has worked tirelessly to give students the best opportunity for success. She currently serves as Principal of two different elementary schools, Walter Bracken STEAM Academy (Bracken) and Long Elementary School, splitting her days to spend time at each individual institution. Her work at Bracken has been recognized nationally, as Bracken has been named a 2015 Merit School of Excellence. Along with this outstanding achievement, Principal Decker was awarded the Magnet Schools of America Principal of the Year in 2013, the Terrel Bell Award for Outstanding Leadership, and locally by United Way Women’s Leadership for commitment to financial stability in 2015. April 15th has also been named Katie Decker Day by the City of Las Vegas. No amount of recognition could adequately thank Principal Decker for all that she has done.

When Principal Decker initially began at Bracken, the elementary school was one of the lowest-performing schools in the district. She worked to improve the climate and academics of the school, spearheading the development of unique magnet programs. Bracken is now a five-star Blue Ribbon magnet school and is one of the top schools offered in the nation. Recently, a local initiative began to incorporate techniques from highly-performing schools, also referred to as franchise schools, into poorly-performing schools. Principals from franchise schools were selected to lead poorly-performing schools, ultimately introducing successful programs into the curriculum.  Principal Decker was one of two Principals chosen to participate in the initiative and has been assigned to Long Elementary School, where she is working to bring consistency to the schools she leads and greater opportunity to all of her students. It is because of her consistent academic success with her students that the franchise initiative began. Her Piggy Bank Program was utilized at Bracken and will be expanded to her Franchise School Walter Long STEAM Academy in the fall. Principal Decker has also worked to bring improvement to schools across the district by providing mentoring and administrative help. She teaches student climate classes to administrators, counselors, and teachers and has shared her leadership experience at the State of Nevada Mega Conference. She has also presented her ideas on innovative programs to schools across the country for over 10 years. Her great list of accomplishments is legendary in the Clark County community and remains invaluable to local students.

As a father of four children who attended Nevada’s public schools, and as the husband of a life-long teacher, I understand the important role that educational institutions play in enriching the lives of Nevada’s students.  Ensuring that America’s youth are prepared to compete in the 21st century is critical for the future of our country. The State of Nevada is fortunate to be home to an educator like Principal Decker, whose mission is to prepare our children for their futures.

I ask my colleagues and all Nevadans to join me in thanking Principal Decker for her dedication to enriching the lives of Nevada’s students and congratulating her on her many achievements.