Five years ago educator Trevor L. T. Greene (BA ’94) entered the halls of Toppenish High School in rural Washington and immediately began making changes—changes that earned him the title of 2013 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the Year from the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
With Greene’s leadership, Toppenish High has defied the stereotypes commonly associated with low-income schools. “We were able to prove people wrong and implement creative programs, excite students, and really develop the mentality that each member of the staff needs to be an advocate for students,” he says.
Among other innovations, Greene added 27 classes in engineering and biomedicine and also implemented individualized physical education and music classes for special-education students. Under his leadership, the school added 30 credits of concurrent enrollment college classes and an advisory class for students to build relationships with teachers through daily 24-minute sessions. As a result the students’ state science scores improved by more than 60 percent.
Along with the recognition, Greene received $5,000 to spend on the school—an amount that was matched by a Toppenish alumni class and also by a University of Washington program, giving the school a total of $15,000, which was used for technological learning tools.
Greene credits the gospel and his education for his success. “Everything I have in my life I can trace back to the gospel, what I’ve learned in the Church, and what was reinforced and refined through my experience at BYU and the mission field,” says Greene. He integrates principles of faith, hope, and redemption into his interactions with students, faculty, and staff, believing that if his actions reflect the gospel, it will help inspire others. “It’s just an honor to share those beliefs on a larger stage in this capacity of National Principal of the Year for the United States.”
—Courtney M. Feinauer (BA ’13)