EMERSON, N.J. - The New Jersey Principal and Supervisor Association named Dr. Paula Pelak-Valenti the 2012 Visionary Principal of the Year.

Pelak-Valenti was raised and schooled in New Jersey.

She is a twin daughter of the late Thomas Daniel and Marie (Folger) Pelak, who were both raised and married in the Shamokin and Excelsior areas, and a niece of Florence Verano, Roland Ferentz and Samuel Rumberger, all of Coal Township.

Pelak-Valenti has implemented successful programs in a number of areas to raise test scores, reduce bullying and enhance 21st century skills. She also co-teaches a middle college arts and humanities-based course where students attend museums, theater performances, operas and symphonies.

She has created an environment where teachers feel empowered to try new ideas, share their best practices with other teachers and supported from every direction. This type of leadership and support is critically essential to a fully functioning school where students themselves feel empowered, eager and ready to learn.

The Visionary Leadership Awards program is designed to recognize all levels of educational leaders, with each award recipient receiving a $3,000 award for their school, as well as a personal award.