Napa Elementary Principal Wins Award for Outstanding Leadership

Donna Drago, Principal at Napa Junction Elementary, Awarded Susan Schilling Legacy Award

Principal Drago Recognized for Outstanding Leadership

New Tech Network (NTN) announced at its national conference held in St. Louis, Missouri, that Donna Drago, Principal at Napa Junction Magnet Elementary School in American Canyon, California, was the 2017 recipient of the Susan Schilling Legacy Award.

"On behalf of the entire New Tech Network community of 4,400 teachers and school leaders, I am pleased to recognize Donna for her exemplary leadership in helping her school meet the needs of every student,” said Lydia Dobyns, NTN President, and CEO.  "Donna is the first elementary principal to receive this award. Her dedication, ability to lead school-wide innovation, and the caring and rigorous learning environment she has created to support student success is inspiring."

Great schools rarely emerge without inspiring leadership. Such leaders work to create a culture of improvement that supports and fosters deep learning for all students. Donna exemplifies a professionalism and humbleness that inspires us on a daily basis. It is an honor to partner with her school.

Lydia Dobyns, President and CEO, New Tech Network

Created in 2009 to honor Susan Schilling, former New Technology Foundation CEO, and her contributions to the Network and the broader education field, the award recognizes educational entrepreneurs who demonstrate leadership and contribute to the innovation and sustainability of the nearly 200 New Tech Network schools in 28 states and Australia.

Drago's achievement was recognized by more than 1,500 educators representing 170 elementary, middle and high schools nationwide at the July conference.

"I am honored to receive this award, which represents all that we as educators strive to achieve,” said Drago.  “This award is truly made possible by all of the passionate teachers that are making a difference in students' lives.”

NTN Chief Learning Officer Megan Pacheco said, "Donna is always adapting to better serve the needs of her students and adult learners.  She is a leader in innovation in the elementary space in her district.  One of her goals was to ensure the adult learning culture mirrors the student learning culture.  To this end, student-set goals are made public and every teacher participates in a committee dedicated to their school-wide focus."

Drago has been an elementary principal for more than 20 years and came to Napa Junction Elementary in the Napa Valley Unified School District to help transform the school into a magnet school.  Now in its fourth year implementing the New Tech school model, Napa Junction Magnet School (NJMS) serves its community of learners through a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math-based, Project-Based Learning (PBL) model. The school is one of 13 schools within NVUSD that are part of the NexTech initiative, receiving considerable support from NapaLearns.

In December 2016, Napa Junction Elementary School was selected as an NTN National Demonstration Site, thanks, in great part, to Drago's leadership.

NTN partners with schools and districts to innovate instructional practices to better meet the needs of all students. Through professional development, coaching, and extensive resources, the  NTN approach helps create and sustain continuous improvement by shaping the conditions that surround teaching and learning.  

The New Tech school model is based on four design pillars:

  • Culture that Empowers: School-wide culture of empowerment for students and adults
  • Teaching that Engages: Project and problem-based approach to instruction
  • Technology that Enables: Use of technology for collaboration, access to information, and self-directed learning
  • Outcomes that Matter:  Student outcomes for college, career, and civic life readiness

“Great schools rarely emerge without inspiring leadership.  Such leaders work to create a culture of improvement that supports and fosters deep learning for all students.  Donna exemplifies a professionalism and humbleness that inspires us on a daily basis. It is an honor to partner with her school,” said NTN President and CEO, Lydia Dobyns.


New Tech Network, a national non-profit organization, is a leading design partner for comprehensive school change. We work closely with districts and schools to create innovative learning environments. Through a proven school model, a project-based learning platform, and powerful professional development, we coach schools toward lasting change and ongoing improvement.

There are nearly 200 schools in 28 states and Australia in the New Tech Network. Visit a school today!

Source: New Tech Network