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story.lead_photo.caption Fulton Middle School principal Beth Houf has been recognized for her leadership.

Fulton Middle School Principal Beth Houf has been named Missouri Middle School Principal of the Year.

"I can't think of anybody more deserving of this award," Superintendent Ty Crain said.

Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals Executive Director Clark Mershon surprised Houf with the award during a celebration Tuesday afternoon.

"She just finds ways to surprise you, to surprise her kids, to surprise the community, to show them how much she cares and her dedication to do whatever it takes — truly whatever it takes — to make sure that not only her kids, her staff, her school, but the whole community is successful," Crain said.

Hallsville High School Principal and MASSP board member Scott Daly credited Houf as a mentor who taught him about leadership.

This is not the first time Houf has been recognized. In 2019, she was named principal of the year by Education Dive; that same year, she was the National Association of Secondary School Principals' digital principal of the year. In 2020, Houf was the Northeast MASSP middle school principal of the year.

"I've never seen anyone that goes above and beyond more, as a matter of fact, in ways that I didn't even know you could," Crain said.

Houf joined the district in 2002 as a teacher at Bartley Elementary School. From 2008-15, she was principal at McIntire Elementary School. She has been FMS principal since 2015.

"We are extremely proud," Crain said. "Those of you guys who have known Beth for a long time and watched her career, as I have from afar and now been blessed to work with her for the last four years, you know her dedication to kids here in Fulton and her job is unmatched."

The award will be officially presented to Houf during the MASSP spring conference in March.

According to a MASSP news release, Houf was chosen because of how her leadership has shaped the FMS culture, fostering well-being and safety. According to a former student quoted in the release, Houf invited students to help interview teachers, an experience the student was grateful for.

Houf co-wrote "Lead Like a PIRATE," a resource for education leaders. Houf is in the running to represent the state in the 2021-22 NASSP principal of the year program.

"Mrs. Houf leads by example," one teacher told MASSP. "She has walked in the shoes of many of our students. She was a statistic that should have failed, yet she soared and turned her success into a passion that she is never afraid to share with others, including students."

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