Clifford is State Middle School Principal of the Year

From left: Deb Smith, Matthew Clifford, Tom Hunter. Clifford was joined by two other local state award-winners after receiving the State Middle School Principal of the Year award.

GREENSBURG — Greensburg Junior High School Principal Matthew Clifford has been recognized as the Indiana Association of School Principals (IASP) 2019 State Middle School Principal of the Year.

Earlier this year, Clifford was named the District 10 Middle School Principal of the Year. District 10 is located in southeast Indiana and is made up of Dearborn, Decatur, Fayette, Franklin, Hancock, Jennings, Ripley, Rush, Shelby and Union Counties.

According to the IASP, the recognition ceremony was a part of the 2019 Principals of the Year Recognition Celebration, a part of IASP’s annual Fall Professional Conference. The award was presented at a dinner at the Indianapolis JW Marriott Hotel with IASP State President Dr. Elizabeth Walters presiding along with Dr. Todd Bess, Executive Director.

District Middle School Principals of the Year are elected by their peers. One principal is honored from each of the 12 districts. From these 12 District Middle School Principal winners, Clifford was chosen as the 2019 State Middle School Principal of the Year, the IASP said.

“I was shocked when they called my name,” Clifford said. “It’s not often that I’m at a loss for words.”

Clifford was humbled by the honor, and lauded the many educators and professionals that were also in attendance.

“We have a lot of great educators around the state, and it was an honor to look out and see those people who have done wonderful things in their communities and school districts,” Clifford said. “Everyone there was so deserving, so it was very humbling.”

Greensburg Community Schools also released a joint statement, lauding Clifford for his accomplishments and work within the district.

“Mr. Clifford was recognized by his peers as having a profound effect on the staff and students of Greensburg Junior High School,” the school district said in a statement. “He is an instructional leader that puts his vision into action and is fortunate to have a staff of professionals that shares the common vision of putting students at the forefront of every decision and program in place at GJHS. We are grateful that Mr. Clifford has been recognized for his leadership as the principal of Greensburg Junior High School.”

The school district also said it is important to recognize that Greensburg Community Schools is fortunate to be led by three Indiana state recognized leaders.

Superintendent Tom Hunter was recognized as 2011 Indiana State Superintendent of the Year. In 2014, Deb Smith was recognized as the Indiana Assistant Principal of the Year. With the Middle School Principal of the Year nod, Clifford now joins those individuals in receiving one of the highest awards attainable.

Just as he said when he was named the District 10 Middle School Principal of the Year, the award speaks in volumes when it comes to the team effort at GJHS.

“For me, it’s very affirming in the work our team at the junior high is doing,” Clifford said. “It’s really a reflection of our work as a team. For me, that’s what resonated. This is not my story, it’s our story. It’s not just me. It really is our award.”

Clifford, admitting that his job is very time consuming, thanked his family for standing by his side.

Joshua Heath can be contacted at 812-663-3111 ext. 217401 or at

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