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59cd4db2a33bb Mr. Jimenez addresses the students, staff, and school board members who attended a surprise assembly in his honor. Photo by Aspen Gallentine
Mr. Jimenez addresses the students, staff, and school board members who attended a surprise assembly in his honor. Photo by Aspen Gallentine

Mr. Jimenez is 2017 Principal of the Year

DCHS Journalism Class

September 29, 2017

Principal Ben Jimenez often wears the two bowl rings he received while playing football for Kansas State University.  He has recently added another ring – this one for being named the 2017 Kansas Principal of the Year. 

Just recently he, along with his wife, traveled to Washington D.C. to receive his award.


In the spring, Mr. Jimenez received a call from Dr. Bret Church, the Executive Director of the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals telling him the good news. The annual award recognizes outstanding middle school and high school principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.


Mr. Jimenez was first recommended by colleagues, then chosen from a pool of principals from across the state.

He was chosen on four different categories. The first is personal excellence, which includes modeling continuous professional growth, communicating effectively, and modeling values, beliefs, and attitudes that encourage others to higher levels of performance. The second criteria is collaborative leadership, which includes involving teachers, parents, students, and the community in creating and fostering a shared vision for the school, as well as creating a culture of collaboration and utilizing technology.

Curriculum instruction and assessment is the third category.  This category includes using data to improve teaching and learning, aligning curriculum, identifying essential learning, supervising and evaluating teachers to maximize learning opportunities, developing and maintaining co-curricular programs, using personalized learning plans, and providing support for both students and teachers in meeting high standards.

The fourth criteria is personalization, which includes establishing and maintaining a school environment that reflects high expectations for students and staff, creating a safe and inviting school climate, creating structures that promote positive relationships between adults and students, and acknowledging the accomplishments of students and teachers.

“I focus on service, emotional needs, and a positive learning environment in the school,” said Mr. Jimenez. “Visibility as a principal is the best way to help students feel safe. It is a common practice for my staff and myself to be in the halls every passing period, and I work to be in classrooms daily. It gives me a chance to see kids develop into young adults in our school.”

“We reward students who show respect by doing things out of the ordinary.  We praise students for their achievements, and we have involved our kids in community service projects to help the community and school,” said Mr. Jimenez. “This has had a positive impact on student achievement and participation in our school and community.”

Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity and the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools select one state winner to represent their state.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals honored all state Principals of the Year at the Principals Institute, which is held each year in Washington, D.C. The Institute also provided a forum for honorees to advocate for education and share best practices and expertise.

While in Washington, Mr. Jimenez met with Senators Pat Roberts, Jerry Moran, and House of Representative Dr. Roger Marshall.

One of the issues they talked about was President Trump’s wanting to stop funding for Career and Technical Education classes, which for our school includes industrial arts, agriculture classes, computer classes, family and consumer science classes, and journalism. The federal government provides schools each year with funds to help support these classes, but Trump wants to end this.

In addition to meetings and professional development, the Jimenezes had a bit of free time for some sight seeing. Mr. Jimenez said his favorite part was “Taking the metro to the mall area where we got to walk around and enjoy all the monuments."

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59cd4db2a33bbSuperintendent Troy Pitsch organized a surprise pep assembly to honor Mr. Jimenez for being named the 2017 Kansas Principal of the Year.
Superintendent Troy Pitsch organized a surprise pep assembly to honor Mr. Jimenez for being named the 2017 Kansas Principal of the Year.

Before he left for Washington, Superintendent Troy Pitsch organized a special pep assembly at the high school to honor Mr. Jimenez - complete with childhood pictures.  Mr. Jimenez had no idea the assembly was for him.

This is Mr. Jimenez’s seventh year as principal at Decatur Community Junior/Senior High School.  Before moving to Oberlin, he was the Derby Middle School assistant principal and athletic director for three years. He has also taught world history at Wichita Alcott Academy, was head wrestling coach at Wichita Independent, and taught social studies and coached wrestling and football at Valley Center.

Mr. Jimenez said he wanted to be a principal because he had a terrible principal when teaching and wanted to do better.  “I love being around kids,” said Mr. Jimenez.

Mr. Jimenez grew up with three brothers in Andover and went to high school at Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School in Wichita where he played football and wrestled.


He and his wife, Jen, have three children: Zeke, Sam, and Lia.


Currently Mr. Jimenez serves as the Area 5 Chair for the Kansas Association for Secondary School Principals.


Mr. Jimenez is 2017 Principal of the Year

Date Subject Posted by:
10/08/2017 Congratulations Mr Jimenez!!
Abby Hissong

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