SAGAMORE HILLS — A Sagamore Hills resident is feeling on top of the world as he was named the head of his class for his work as a principal.

T. J. Ebert, the principal at Redwood Elementary School in the Avon Lake City School District, was named Ohio's 2018 National Distinguished Principal by the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators.

"It's a great honor," Ebert said. "It was a complete shock when I got the call a couple weeks ago."

Ebert will receive the Ohio award at an Awards Luncheon during the OAESA Professional Conference, scheduled to take place June 15 at the Hilton Columbus at Easton. In October, Ebert will travel to Washington, D.C. for two days of activities planned to honor and bring recognition to the elementary and middle-level educators chosen by the states, the District of Columbia, plus private and overseas schools.

The process in receiving such a recognition took several months. Ebert said he first found out he had been nominated this past fall by Staci Albanese, Northfield Elementary School principal. He said he was asked to send a blind application, which did not include the names of the applicants, which was reviewed by a committee. He was selected to come to Columbus, where he was interviewed. Ebert said he also was job shadowed at his school. Representatives from OAESA also interviewed Bob Scott, superintendent of Avon Lake City Schools, community members in the area, teachers and students about their Redwood Elementary School principal.

"It was a pretty long process, but it was definitely worth it," Ebert said.

"We are all excited that Mr. Ebert has been selected as the OAESA Principal of the Year in Ohio and will be representing Ohio at the national level," said Robert Scott, Avon Lake City Schools superintendent. "Mr. Ebert is an outstanding Principal. He not only has the knowledge and skill to do the job, but he has all of the intangibles that make him an educational leader. It is my pleasure to work with T. J. every day. He is a supporter of all students, staff, and school as well as a tremendous asset to the school district. This is recognition well-deserved, but the best part for me as a Superintendent is that Mr. Ebert will only get better in the future."

Ebert has been with the Avon Lake City Schools for the past 12 years. He has been principal at Redwood for seven years. He started at Bedford High School, where he not only was a social studies teacher, but coached several sports, something he still enjoys doing today. Ebert said he was a head coach with the Nordonia Football League and coordinated his daughter's instructional basketball league.

As well as his first-grade daughter, Ebert said he also has two sons with his wife Karen. All three of his children attend schools in the Nordonia Hills City Schools, he said.

"Mr. Ebert was nominated and selected by fellow principals through a statewide search process conducted by OAESA," said Dr. Julie Davis, OAESA executive director. "The selection process included an extensive application, interviews, and a school visit from a team of colleagues. Comments from the visiting team included, ‘The three words used to describe Mr. Ebert are enthusiastic, passionate and engaged. It was very clear that he is all three,’ and ‘He believes in saying ‘we’ instead of ‘me’ and always brings decisions back to doing what is best for kids."

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, ahelms@recordpub.com, or ??@AprilKHelms_RPC??