Share story

Jill Hudson, the principal of Seattle’s Nathan Hale High School, was awarded the Thomas B. Foster Award for leadership during a surprise ceremony this morning.

Hudson wiped away tears and thanked her staff, students and family.

“The best part is that every day I get to be with you,” she told the students. “I’m very proud to be your principal.”

The annual award, sponsored by the Alliance for Education, comes with a $50,000 grant to the school,  presented in the form of an oversized check.

Hudson, in her third year at Nathan Hale, is the 10th recipient of the award, which goes to a Seattle Public Schools middle, K-8 or high school principal. The 1,100-student school is the first to win the award twice.

In presenting the award, district officials cited Hudson’s leadership in school and district initiatives as well as Nathan Hale’s gains on last year’s standardized tests.

“I couldn’t have more respect for you and the work you do,” Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield said at the ceremony.

Before coming to Nathan Hale, Hudson served as principal at West Seattle’s Madison Middle School for eight years. Before that, she was a principal in the Shoreline School District.

Last year, Denny International Middle School Principal Jeff Clark won the award, which is named for a civic leader and founder of Seattle law firm Foster Pepper.