Conference Speaker Biography
Jay T. Engeln
MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year 2000
William J. Palmer High School, Colorado Springs, CO
Jay Engeln is principal of William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is also the MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year 2000.
In 1974, Mr. Engeln began his career in education as a science teacher and soccer coach in Colorado Springs. He taught biology and environment science at Mitchell High School and human anatomy and physiology at Doherty High School, always placing strong emphasis on student interaction and involvement in the learning experience. While at Doherty High School, Engeln was a finalist for Colorado Teacher of the Year. He organized the first high school soccer team in Colorado Springs and in 1985 was named National High School Soccer Coach of the Year.
In 1993, Mr. Engeln was named principal of William J. Palmer High School. The school, located in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs, included aging buildings, a declining and transient population base, a ninth grade failure rate of 45 percent, an overall student dropout rate 8.4 percent and a negative image within the community. Mr. Engeln felt strongly that as the principal, his role was to provide direction and support for initiatives that focused on improving student achievement through the creation of programs that met all students needs. Under his leadership and with the dedicated support of staff, students and community members, enrollment has almost doubled since Engeln assumed the role of principal, construction projects are underway to provide new and better facilities, graduation rates have steadily increased, dropout rates have declined and test scores (ACT/SAT and TAP) are consistently among the highest in any public or private school in the region.
In addition, Mr. Engeln has been involved in several unusual methods to obtain support for school programs. Last year, Engeln rode his bicycle 324 miles across the state of Colorado to raise money for programs at the school.
Mr. Engeln received his undergraduate degree in biology from Colorado College. He continued his education at the University of Colorado to receive his Master's degree in Science Education.