Jesse Kraft, the principal of Coates Elementary School since 2016, was named Fairfax County Public Schools 2019 Outstanding Principal.
Kraft was recognized for bringing people together and maintaining positivity wherever he goes. Josie Mani, a gifted education teacher who nominated Kraft for the award, said Kraft “has taken strides to make our community feel welcome and to partner with them as much as possible.”
“He maintains and active social media presence and even learned some Spanish so that he could further connect the school and community,” Mani wrote.
Kraft was recognized for gestures like flipping burgers at a school barbecue, offering fist bumps during the morning, and his frequent visits to classrooms. A teacher at heart, Kraft teaches positivity project lessons, offers quarterly grade-level assemblies and teaches upper level students about public speaking.
Parent Christine Crawford told FCPS that Kraft is “always visible at school and connects easily to students at all grade levels.”
Kraft also made sure all teachers were trained in classroom management techniques, which he says are key to a healthy learning environment.
It’s not the first time the educator and administrator was recognized for his accomplishments. He was named the county’s outstanding first year principal in 2010. In 2004, he was also nominated for teacher of the year.
He began his career in FCPS as a teacher at Newington Forest Elementary School in 1996, after which he served as an assistant principal at Westlawn and and Oak Hill elementary schools. In 2009, he was the principal at Providence Elementary School. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.
Photo via FCPS