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Kirkwood High principal named JEA Administrator of the Year

Michael Havener, principal at Kirkwood (Missouri) High School, has been named the Journalism Education Association’s 2015 Administrator of the Year.

JEA presents the award to administrators who have shown a dedication to journalism education. Havener will be honored Nov. 14 at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Orlando, Florida.

Administrators showing support of scholastic journalism has become a tradition in Kirkwood. Two other administrators from the district have received this award: Franklin McCallie in 1999 and William A. Bowden in 1971.

Havener has been a consistent supporter of students’ First Amendment rights and especially those of student journalists, according to nominator and the school’s media adviser Mitch Eden.

His support of scholastic journalism and the KHS media program was evident this year. “Dr. Havener spearheaded the construction of a $2.5 million journalism facility featuring spaces for all media programs including a 40-person computer lab, broadcast studio, portrait studio, 110-person lecture hall, conference room and a full kitchen,” Eden wrote. “He believes journalism is the great equalizer among students, knowing advisers can find a home for anyone.”

Havener is a graduate of the University of Missouri and early in his teaching career he coached baseball and football at Kirkwood. After a stint as assistant principal, he worked in the district office before returning to the campus as principal in 2011.

“He is the most kid-centered administrator I have ever known,” wrote associate principal Michael Wade. “His philosophy is ‘Every Student, Every Day.’ He helps and encourages every student to be the best that they can be. It doesn’t matter if it is the smartest student or the quietest, he strives for them to learn and find their place in this world.”

The Kirkwood journalism program, under Eden’s guidance, has continued a strong tradition of award-winning media, and the program draws many students. Wade called Havener’s style “hands off” toward journalism, but he maintains a role of support.

The Journalism Education Association is headquartered at Kansas State University. The group supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities and by promoting professionalism in student media education and advising.

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