SALADO — Chris Diem, Salado Junior High principal, was named the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Region 12 Principal of the Year.

This is the second straight year a Salado ISD principal has won the award.

In 2013, Burt Smith, who served as Salado High School principal, won the honor at the high school level.

“We have a great group of principals and Chris does a fantastic job for us,” district Superintendent Michael Novotny said.

“He really cares about the students and the staff, and that shows every day. He’s always looking out for their best interests, is extremely intelligent and does a great job communicating with students, parents and staff.”

Region 12 comprises more than 75 school districts, and some of the larger districts have multiple middle school campuses, so for

Diem to stand out among that group shows his commitment to excellence, Novotny said.

Diem graduated from Harker Heights High School in 2001 and from Texas A&M University in 2005.

“I grew up attending (Class) 5A schools and worked in 5A schools until coming to Salado,” he said. “You have a chance to build good relationships in those schools, but you have a chance to really get to know people at smaller schools like Salado. It’s great to get to know people on a more personal level, because it gives you a better pulse of what the students and the community really need.”

Before coming to Salado, Diem worked for the Killeen, College Station and Belton school districts.

He and his wife, Jessica, have had two sons, Cohen, who died in 2011, and Nathan, who is 15 months old. Their third child is due on Christmas Day.

While SJHS already has accomplished a lot, Diem said there is more to work on.

“We always want to get better, and we want to provide more opportunities for kids,” he said.

Diem said the award is a reflection of the entire school.

“We have tremendous teachers who are passionate about their jobs and great students, so I truly believe this is a whole school award,” he said.

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