Katy ISD principal named a finalist for national honor
Katy ISD principal Kwabena Mensah has been named as a Texas National Distinguished Principal finalist by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), making him one of eight principals in Texas to be given the recognition.
Becoming a National Distinguished Principal is the highest honor a principle can achieve, with the winner earning $10,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C., in the fall. Mensah, the principal at Polly Ann McRoberts Elementary School, has been chosen by TEPSA as a finalist after distinguishing himself as an engaged leader who has created a unique learning environment at McRoberts.
“It’s a huge honor mainly because it represents the work happening here at our school,” Mensah said. “It’s all about the kids and teachers and parents. They’re the ones that do all the hard work. They spend countless hours with parents. They’ve created a rich culture here at McRoberts.”
Mensah is the first KISD principal to be named as a Distinguished Principal finalist, according to the district.
A TEPSA peer-committee reviewed 123 nominations for this year’s award before selecting finalists.
Mensah believes he was chosen because of the work-play balance he’s established during his two years as McRoberts. Mensah has allowed his students to pour slime on him and duct tape him to the cafeteria wall. He’s ridden a hoverboard around school and allowed students to try. But he’s also pushed students to work hard and made it a point to be visible to them and know each of their names.
This school year, Mensah was named principal of the year both at Katy ISD and the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators.
“Katy ISD is extremely proud of Dr. Kwabena Mensah and his recent recognition of being named one of eight Texas National Distinguished Principals,” KISD spokesperson Maria DiPetta said. “Dr. Mensah has demonstrated strong leadership skills and works diligently with his staff, parents and community to provide a positive and robust learning environment for students.”
A Bronx, New York native, Mensah studied sports medicine at Rice University before interning with the Houston Rockets. While with the Rockets, he mentored Houston ISD students weekly, where he began to love teaching. Mensah quit his job and pursued a teacher certification in 2001.
“I knew that my (purpose) was to work with children,” he said.
Mensah worked as an assistant principal at Aldine, Fort Bend and Austin independent school districts before becoming a principal at Spring ISD, where he worked for six years until going to Katy.
Mensah will be recognized along with other finalists on June 14 in Austin. The state’s distinguished principal winner will be announced in May. They’ll join winners from other states in Washington, D.C., at a reception.