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2010 Bill Ellis Award Winner

Thomas Komp, Principal
Boulevard Elementary School
Gloversville, New York

According to Principal Tom Komp, "my day starts by meeting and greeting students and faculty, and after ‘good morning’ I ask them about their progress data!”

Gloversville may be a small, struggling city in upstate New York, but times have never been better for the students of Boulevard Elementary School. Tom Komp has been part of the school district community for 15 years and he remembers watching capable students slipping through the cracks, becoming casualties of well-intended but ineffective instruction. He and his fellow faculty members recall their feeling enormous frustration knowing that they could be doing more to accelerate learning, but not having the tools to gauge progress or to make decisions that would improve the effectiveness of instruction and result in higher achievement and improved behavior. Twelve years ago he started collecting data on student performance. It took a lot of time and energy, but he knew it would make a difference: a better educational experience for the students (and faculty) of Boulevard Elementary School.

tom and drake
Thomas Komp receives the
2010 Bill Ellis Award from
NCLD Board member, Drake D. Duane, M.D.
Tom’s multi-year effort helped him learn what needed to be done. He received two Reading First grants, and he committed himself to accelerating staff development opportunities and to embracing a school-wide response-to-intervention (RTI) model. The results were dramatic:

  • Referrals for special education classification (due to “dysteachia”) were reduced by more than 60%.
  • Special education and general education professionals are now working side by side as instructional partners, no longer in separate classrooms and needing permission to reach out and tap each others energy and expertise.
  • Parents are infused into the schools’ plan for success, with an active Parent Partnership Team that meets regularly, an in-school parent coordinator who facilitated monthly meetings between parents and teachers, workshops, and frequent formal and informal opportunities to share student progress data.
View a video clip to see Principal Tom Komp and his staff at Boulevard Elementary School discuss their successes and challenges with implementing RTI. (Scroll to the bottom of the page.)

Tom has been a mentor in the national Leadership Network of NCLD’s RTI Action Network since 2008 and he serves on the Advisory Council of the RTI Action Network as a representative of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

In 2008 he was the recipient of a National Distinguished Principal Award from the Association of Elementary School Principals. Tom is currently serving as a mentor to 14 school principals through the New York State Technical Assistance Center.