La Verne Grad Named Principal of the Year by Banning USD

February 12, 2013 by University of La Verne

Dr. Robert Meteau Jr. doesn’t work hard to receive awards, but does work hard to create a great environment for the students at Nicolet Middle School in Banning, California.

The University of La Verne 2013 doctor of public administration graduate was recently named Principal of the Year by Banning Unified School District in Riverside County.

“The award took me by surprise,” Meteau said. “I just love what I do, and it was definitely an unexpected but welcomed surprise to receive the award. I enjoy what I do and I am very passionate about being an advocate for our youth and raising student achievement.”

“It’s a great feeling to know that you are preparing students for college and career readiness with 21st century skills. I am making a difference,” Meteau  said.

Professor of Public Administration Suzanne Beaumaster, Meteau ’s dissertation chair, is not surprised that he received the award.

“He’s a well-respected administrator,” Beaumaster said. “He deserves the honor.”

Working in the lowest socio-economic school district in Riverside County has been challenging for Meteau  and his dedicated staff, but they have continually strived to improve their school. Nicolet Middle School has improved 80 points in two years according to the Academic Performance Index, API, and is now one of the top five performing schools in the County. Meteau , who said he was brought in as a change agent, has created a strong sense of community that motivates his students.

With student of the month awards, faculty and student football games and other fun activities, students are given the opportunity to engage outside the classroom.

“I think the University did a great job of preparing me,” Meteau  said.

Meteau  originally chose La Verne for his undergraduate education after returning from military service. He finished his degree through weekend and evening classes.

“The faculty, staff and small community environment always gave me support with guidance and made me feel welcome,” Meteau  said. “After receiving my master’s in education at another university, returning to La Verne for my doctorate seemed like the natural thing to do. It was like going home, and I was very comfortable being there to continue my academic studies.”

Supporting his alma mater and encouraging his students to attend college, Meteau  wears a La Verne shirt every Friday for the school’s weekly college day. Though this is Meteau ’s second career, he has no plans of retiring any time in the near future.

After working for the City of Pasadena and volunteering at schools on his own time, he decided to leave Pasadena and start teaching in 1998. Meteau  not only enjoys the interaction in the classroom, but also the administrative side of school districts.

He hopes to eventually work in a district level position or in government service. “I’ve worn a lot of hats,” Meteau  said. “I’m a lifelong learner.”

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