NORDONIA HILLS -- Northfield Elementary is entering the Hall of Fame.

The Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators announced April 17 the Northfield Center kindergarten through fourth-grade school was selected to receive the annual Hall of Fame award. Northfield is one of nine schools awarded the honor but this is the first win for Nordonia Hills City Schools, according to Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark

"Parents should be proud," he added.

"The award just reinforces what we already know, that is we have great school in Nordonia," Clark said. "We're really proud of the work of all of our staff, students and parents."

Northfield Elementary School Principal Staci Albanese said the recognition is special for the school.

"Our school community has a pride-filled student body, a committed staff, and involved parents who are invested in meeting the needs of our students," she said. "I believe it's a deserved award that validates the commitment demonstrated daily. Our school community is a family and has demonstrated this in support of life's great moments and times of need."

The Hall of Fame School Award recognizes schools that engage faculty, students and the community to provide a quality school experience.

OAESA is a professional development program which principals for pre-k through eighth grade must be a member of. Clark said all Nordonia principals belong to the state organization.

Nancy Abrams, Business Manager for OAESA, told the News Leader the award is prestigious.

"To receive this award is really quite an honor," Abrams said. "It's quite the process, you have to be nominated, fill out an application, there are a number of criteria we examine. It's really very extensive."

She added there can be up to 11 schools awarded but the number changes each year depending on how many schools take the time to fill out the application and go through the process.

Julie Davis, OAESA executive director, said 32 schools were nominated this year.

T.J. Ebert, a parent of two current Northfield students whose fifth grader also attended Northfield, nominated the school for the Hall of Fame award. Ebert is also an elementary school principal for Redwood Elementary in Avon Lakes. He said his school won the award last year.

"The kids come first in the decisions of the school," he said. "As an elementary principal and parent I am impressed with the education my kids receive. Staci (Albanese) does a great job as building leader. My kids love going to school every day which is important because elementary school sets the foundation for student (careers.)"

He added he feels the teachers are all great, a sentiment shared by Jolynn McFerren, a long-time volunteer and parent of three children who have attended Northfield Elementary.

"The school is a complete community partnership between the teachers, administrators, support staff and staff," McFerren said. "Staci Albanese has made a huge difference in just the few years she's been there in building the school community."

Albanese said the process was beneficial to the school administration.

"The application process gave us an opportunity to examine and highlight our different programs, innovative ideas and social activities that provide our students with the best educational experience possible," Albanese said.

Davis said that after the comprehensive application is filed, top schools that meet or exceed the qualification score of 75 out of 100 on their written application are scheduled for an on-site visitation by members of OAESA's Hall of Fame Visitation Committee. During the visit committee members rate the school based on the list of criteria. Categories the schools are scored in include: instructional system, student achievement, student development, personnel, administration, school management and stakeholders.

According to a press release committee members wrote, "Upon entering Northfield, we were welcomed by the office staff, the principal and a host of students who serve on the Student Leadership Team ... Positive energy engulfed us throughout the day of our visit. Students and teachers are proud of their school and all those who attend.

"Academically, Northfield uses our State Standards as learning targets. They use several standardized benchmarking assessments to gauge student progress. There is common Intervention and Enrichment time at the beginning of each day whereby students may receive assistance or enrichment if needed.

"Northfield has a strong academic focus that is student centered and focused on growth. Classrooms were informally observed during our visit, and each one appeared calm, yet abuzz with student activity ... students were seen working together on projects, or working in pairs or small groups in reading or math. The visit to Northfield was a real pleasure, and we can readily endorse it for a Hall of Fame award for 2017."

Albanese will receive the award at an awards luncheon June 16 in Columbus she said the staff at Northfield "goes above and beyond each day for our students. We are both delighted and proud of this honor."

Briana Barker: 330-541-9432