News Release

  6500 East Arapahoe Road, Boulder, CO 80301

For Immediate Release
Melissa Gibson, Director of Membership and Strategic Partners, CASE or 303-762-8762


Boulder Valley School District leader named 2017 Distinguished Principal for Colorado

Tobey Bassoff, Principal of Barnard D. Ryan Elementary STEAM School in the Boulder Valley School District, has been named the 2017 National Distinguished Principal for Colorado. 

(From CASE, Februrary 15, 2017)

Tobey Bassoff, Principal of Barnard D. Ryan Elementary STEAM School in the Boulder Valley School District, has been named the 2017 National Distinguished Principal for Colorado by the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) and a committee of her peers from the Colorado Association of Elementary School Principals. She will represent Colorado in the National Distinguished Principal award program.  

Upon being notified of the award, Bassoff said, "I am deeply honored to be recognized in this way by my peers while also being aware that there are hundreds of exceptional elementary school principals throughout Colorado who do extraordinary work every day for their students."
With more than 17 years of experience working in education, Bassoff has spent 11 of those years serving at the principal level; seven of which were spent at Ryan Elementary. Building upon her six years of experience as a classroom teacher, Bassoff approaches learning through the motto of “every child; every day.” Recognizing the unique needs of each stakeholder, be they a child, parent, staff member, or community organizer, is central to Bassoff’s leadership style.
As Kent Cruger, principal of fellow Boulder Valley school, Bear Creek Elementary school said, “Tobey is a leader among leaders...[and her] leadership starts one person at a time.”
Arriving to Ryan Elementary during a somewhat tenuous time, Bassoff has been critical to reshaping the narrative of the school to fulfill a vision of cohesion and student success. Bassoff consistently builds bridges among all the constituents of the Ryan Elementary community. Her input was critical in the shaping of the community outreach group, Friends for Ryan, which is made up of volunteers from a local church and beyond that assist Ryan Elementary students in any manner needed, from literacy intervention and mentoring to after-school tutoring and assistance with 21st century technology-implementation. 
Boulder Valley School District Superintendent and CASE President-elect, Bruce Messinger, said of Bassoff’s community leadership, “She sets high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate…Tobey knows her community well and knows when and where to advocate.”  
Ryan Elementary has a diverse student population of 461 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Of these students, nearly 34 percent receive free or reduced price meals. Since 2010, the school has risen from satisfactory achievement to outstanding achievement in 2016, meaning that Ryan is now ranked in the 80th percentile for performance in Colorado. This accomplishment is in part to the efforts made by Bassoff in pioneering the school’s implementation of a STEAM focus, the better application of educational technology, the re-centering of student needs to be the focus of student learning, and in instituting a summer learning camp to address and ultimately decrease summer regression in student performance. 
Bassoff was selected for this honor by her peers through a rigorous and competitive process facilitated by the Colorado Association of Elementary School Principals (CAESP), a department of CASE and affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). The National Distinguished Principal program is sponsored by NAESP.  
“As studies indicate, principal leadership is second only to strong instruction when it comes to impacting student achievement,” stated CASE Executive Director Lisa Escárcega. “CASE is proud to honor Tobey Bassoff and to recognize the innovative and cohesive leadership she has demonstrated at Ryan Elementary STEAM School.” 
This award honors principals who have exhibited extraordinary leadership, commitment to their students and staff, service to their communities, and contributions to the overall profession, including their professional association. It is important that the dedication and enthusiasm of principals who guide children’s earliest educational experiences be acknowledged to both reward their accomplishments and allow their work to serve as models of excellence for others to follow.
CASE and CAESP will formally present Bassoff with her award at an upcoming school event. She and other CASE award winners also will be recognized at an awards ceremony this spring, as well as at the 48th Annual CASE Convention this summer in Breckenridge.
The Colorado Association of School Executives ( is the preeminent professional association for public school administrators in Colorado. The organization’s mission is to empower Colorado education leaders through advocacy, professional learning and networking to deliver on the promise of public education.

# # #