Comella Among Nation’s Best K-8 Principals

Pilgrim Lutheran School Principal Chris Comella has been named a 2018 National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Each year the NAESP honors elementary and middle-school principals from across the country who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and culture for their students, families, and staff members. Comella was one of only four private school principals to be recognized this year.

“Chris helps all of us to focus on how we can better teach to the whole child, and how we can enroll parents into a role of utmost support and engagement,” said Kristian Johnson, Pilgrim Lutheran Church’s pastor. In October, Comella will travel to Washington, D.C., for two days of activities planned to bring recognition to the elementary and middle-level educators chosen by the states, the District of Columbia as well as private and overseas schools.

Comella was nominated for the award by his fellow principals in the Evangelical Lutheran Education Association. His “persistence, professionalism and ministry have been acknowledged and affirmed throughout the nomination and selection process by [his] school, congregation, peers and national education leaders,” said Gayle M. Denny, executive director of the Evangelical Lutheran Education Association of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

At Pilgrim he has focused on strengthening academic opportunities for all students as reflected in the hiring of a math specialist, the implementation of academic coaching, the fine-tuning of the 4th-8th grade instructional model, and a schedule that allows differentiated instruction across grades. Under his leadership, Pilgrim students engage in service learning at every age – be it helping out at the local food pantry, supporting a refugee family or baking cookies for the homeless.

Comella has served Pilgrim Lutheran as principal since 2013. A graduate of Wabash College in Indiana, Comella earned his Teaching Certification at DePaul University in Chicago and has a Master of Arts from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.