Robert J. Ziegler, principal of St. Michael Lutheran School, Fort Myers, Fla., has been named a “National Distinguished Principal” for 2006. He received the award along with 64 other principals at an Oct. 27 ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Ziegler is the only Missouri Synod principal chosen for the award given by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) this year, and one of five from private schools.
“Bob Ziegler exemplifies Lutheran school administrators, and is respected because of his work and his personality,” said William Cochran, director of School Ministry with LCMS District and Congregational Services. “He is a strong Christian leader for both his school and for Lutheran schools as a whole.”
At St. Michael since 1999, Ziegler also has served other Lutheran schools in Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, and Illinois. He was among principals whose schools were accredited during the first year of National Lutheran School Accreditation in the mid-1980s, helped establish the Synod’s School Leadership Development project, and is a past Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow.
A 1982 graduate of Concordia University, Seward, Neb., Ziegler later earned a master’s degree in administration from Mankato State University in Minnesota.
Principals are nominated for the National Distinguished Principal Award based on written recommendations by individuals or by their schools. An NAESP committee selects awardees from across the United States and at American overseas schools operated by the U.S Department of State.
Among those recommending Ziegler for the award was a parent of a St. Michael student who wrote, “Bob’s solid faith in … Jesus Christ is perhaps his strongest attribute. Being principal of a Lutheran school whose population is predominantly non-church members gives quite an opportunity for witnessing to them and their families about Jesus Christ. Bob not only openly shares God’s Word with all of our staff and students, but most importantly, Bob demonstrates his faith throughout his day-to-day walk.”
Ziegler wrote that his “greatest joys come when we baptize a student into the family of God. … When a student is kind and caring or writes an essay or poem about Jesus’ love, I know we are making a difference for life here and for eternity.”
Posted Nov. 15, 2006