TEA, S.D.(KXLG)- Castlewood native Dr. Samantha Walder, Principal at Legacy Elementary School in Tea, S.D., recently was honored as the 2023 South Dakota National Distinguished Principal.
Walder has been the Principal at Legacy Elementary, one of the fastest-growing schools in the state, for the past five years. She has been in education for 15 years.
The National Distinguished Principal program honors outstanding elementary and middle-level principals who ensure that America’s children acquire a sound foundation for lifelong learning and achievement. The program is run by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and is open to principals from across the nation, in both public and private schools and overseas.
Walder told KXLG News it was an honor just to be nominated for the award.
She also gave credit to her team with the Tea Area School District.
Walder said her educational experience in Castlewood was the main reason she went into the field, singling out two especially influential teachers – Kim Boswell and Kay Zimiga.
Boswell still teaches in Castlewood, while Zimiga is retired.
Walder holds undergraduate history and political science degrees with a master’s in curriculum and instruction from South Dakota State University. She earned her doctorate from the University of South Dakota.
Walder also serves as president of the South Dakota Elementary Principal’s Association.