Dexter’s Principal McCalla Receives Outstanding Practicing Principal Award 2017

Congratulations to Dexter’s Cornerstone Elementary Principal Craig McCalla for being selected as the Michigan 2017 Outstanding Practicing Principal.

The coveted award is given out annually by MEMSPA (Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association) and SET SEG Insurance to recognize outstanding principals whose contributions to the profession are exemplary and recognized by their peers and communities alike. The program honors principals who have exhibited extraordinary leadership, commitment to their students and faculty, service to their communities and contributions to the overall profession, including their professional associations.

Craig is the principal at Cornerstone Elementary a K-2nd building within Dexter Community Schools. Craig was nominated by Mollie Sharrar, Dexter Community Schools Executive Director of Instruction and Strategic Initiatives. Mr. McCalla has been the principal of Cornerstone Elementary since 2006 and earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Eastern Michigan University. Craig also earned a leadership certificate from MEMSPA’s Leadership Matters enhancement program.

The focus of the MEMSPA-SET SEG Outstanding Practicing Principal Award is instructional leadership, student relations, staff relations, parent relations and professional growth.  Mollie Sharrar highlighted the following in her nomination related to these areas:

Instructional Leadership – “Most importantly, Mr. McCalla is an advocate for all students and is a leader in Michigan for transgender students and social justice awareness in schools.”

Student Relations – “Craig McCalla knows the names of all 400+ students in his building, as well as those of the siblings and parents.”

Staff Relations – “He takes time to recognize his staff and provides time for them to share in the leadership of the building through grade level and building collaborative groups.”

Parent Relations – “Parents can be found reading with students, helping in the lunch room, assisting in the classroom and providing resources to Cornerstone.”

Professional Growth – “Craig models an All means All approach to education and life.”

Mr. Craig McCalla is a leader of learning in many ways. MEMSPA Past President, Tom DeGraaf, has worked with Craig on MEMSPA projects over the years, and Tom not only values and recognizes Craig’s contributions to Cornerstone, but to the education community at large. In a speech to honor Craig at the MEMSPA Annual Conference Tom shared the following, “We can all talk the talk, but this leader models how to walk the walk. He knows his true north and can navigate through unchartered waters, avoiding rocky coasts while weathering turbulent social storms.”

Kindergarten teacher, Mary Leach at Cornerstone expressed in a letter of recommendation Mr. McCalla’s vision “He believes conversation is good and change CAN happen when we work together to reach a common goal, and ALL means ALL.” Dexter Superintendent, Christopher Timmis, Ed.D. views Craig as “without a doubt, one of the best administrators in the State of Michigan and the Country.”

MEMSPA released this statement announcing their choice for Outstanding Practicing Principal 2017:

“Great Leaders are not born they are made with hard work and dedication. Each day Craig McCalla decides to lead Cornerstone staff, students and families in the manner shared by those involved with his nomination…

“MEMSPA is very proud to support
Mr. Craig McCalla as the SET SEG Outstanding Practicing Principal for 2017″

McCalla is no stranger to recognition. In 2012, his fifth year as principal at Cornerstone, he was chosen “Principal of the Year” by MEMSPA for Region 2 which consists of Washtenaw, Livingston and Monroe counties.

For further information on the MEMSPA-SET SEG Outstanding Practicing Principal Award or the 2017 honoree, Mr. Craig McCalla contact the MEMSPA office at (517) 694-8955 or

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