Helene Van Natter, principal of Vae View Elementary School in Layton, was recently named the Utah Association of Elementary School Principals' National Distinguished Principal and Principal of the Year.

In recognition of the honor, Van Natter will travel to Washington, D. C., on Oct. 16 to be recognized by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. She will be joined by principals from 49 other states.

Van Natter promotes the philosophy that students' needs can be addressed more effectively when educators work as a team rather than as individuals. Among many staff-development opportunities, she instructs teachers on how to use available data and then provides time to develop strategies to improve teaching and learning.

She stays personally involved with students by having first-graders read sight words to her every Friday morning. She congratulates and rewards them as they learn each set of 100 words. Many of the students are motivated to quickly learn the entire set of 1,000 words.