Kudos: NP3 Principal Rutten Honored

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

At Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep High School students aren’t just sent to Principal Tom Rutten’s office — they often go there voluntarily.

And they keep coming back.

“I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve seen check in to see Mr. Rutten and graduates who stop in to tell him what they are up to and how well prepared they are for school,” says Lora Morrow, the NP3 Boosters Club president.

Such regard has not gone unnoticed. Rutten was recently awarded the Education Partnership Award from Sacramento State University’s College of Education.

“An excellent communicator with a collaborative style, Tom has assembled one of the most gifted and student-centered staffs I have seen in my 40 years in education,” said Christine Minero, director of the Education Pipeline of Pacific McGeorge, in a nomation letter to the college.

Each year the Sacramento State University College of Education honors a local educator for their efforts to deliver quality education.

Rutten received the award Friday, Sept. 28 during ceremony held at the college Alumni Center. Minero and leaders from the collaborative arm of the University of the Pacific and McGeorge School of Law, nominated Rutten.

During the event, many praised his hiring and communication skills.

“He has the unique ability to relate well with the students but yet he relates really well with the parents whether it’s about information or about a situation,” said Morrow, also one of the charter’s school board members.

But when asked about the recognition, Rutten credited NP3.

“I really think this is an award for our school and not so much for Tom Rutten,” he said. “It speaks to the incredible work that the students and staff do everyday.”

NP3 enrollment reflects a diverse cultural and socio-economic student body of 510 youth.

The growing school incorporates law studies into its core curriculum. For example, juniors studying U.S. history do so by focusing on the subject from a constitutional viewpoint.

Rutten, a former Christian Brothers High School principal and Sacramento High School teacher and head football coach, said his education experience taught him to hire teachers and staff who “truly care” about their students.

“Because of the caring relationships we have with our kids, it carries over to the relationships the kids have with each other,” Rutten continued. “People talk about the new three “r’s” – rigorous, relevance and relationship. For us, we flip the order because we think relationships are critical to students’ success.”

During his tenure, Rutten has helped establish a peer court where students discipline each other and has encouraged many students to participate in statewide mock trial competitions. He has also ensured that seniors are required to be involved in and participate in a community organization.

“We’ve found that we are creating a group of kids who are very much aware of their role in society – their rights, responsibilities and are active in the community,” Rutten said.

In the long term, Rutten would like to see the high school and its sister program, Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep Middle School, evolve into a kindergarten through 12th grade program. Currently, he is working to establish an athletics program for NP3 students.

Still complimentary of others, Rutten added, “It’s a nice thing to be recognized. Especially when a large number of our staff are graduates of Sac State.”

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