Many describe Colleyville Middle School Principal David Arencibia as a passionate and positive individual whose energy reflects throughout campus.

The school’s optimistic culture “starts with its leadership” and trickles down to students and staff, said Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District superintendent Robin Ryan.

“He’s someone who has a vision and communicates it to students, parents and staff,” Ryan said. “He did a terrific job.”

Arencibia, who led the school for seven years, is one of three finalists for the Principal of the Year award from the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

“I believe it’s a calling,” said Arencibia, 43. “It’s really important work, and we’re really helping our future generations through education.”

Arencibia said he intends to create a strong community at school to help him achieve his goals around children, who are his “ultimate goal”.

Addie Gormley, now in eighth grade, launched Colleyville Middle online two years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Arencibia made sure to join the students’ virtual meet times to introduce themselves and get to know them.

Gormley, 13, said his headmaster always includes and considers the students when making decisions about how to make the school run better.

He greets students each morning when they are dropped off at school and opens their car doors, she added.

Former students are constantly reaching out to talk about its impact on them years after graduating.

“It definitely continues to fuel me and motivate me,” Arencibia said.

Throughout his 22 years of study, he taught Spanish and coached football and baseball before entering administration.

As an assistant manager in 2017, Arencibia was named Texas Region 11 Assistant Manager of the Year. Under his leadership, the college was also named a Texas School to Watch, a nationally recognized Model Campus, and a National PTA School of Excellence.

Lauren Jones, the school’s band director, was on campus before Arencibia took over. Jones immediately noticed an “improvement in environment and culture” upon arrival.

Arencibia “goes above and beyond” to be on campus and celebrate student and faculty accomplishments, Jones added.

“He brings out the best in people – students and faculty members alike,” she said. “He makes this school a better place.”

The school encourages students to excel inside and outside of the classroom due to Arencibia’s emphasis on positivity, teamwork and growth, the NASSP press release states. .

Finalists are chosen after each state, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools, and the Department of Defense Education Activity select a college principal or high school to represent their state or department.

The other two finalists are from Connecticut and California. The winner will be announced Nov. 10 at a gala in Virginia.

The DMN Education Lab deepens coverage and conversation about pressing education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, Garrett and Cecilia Boone, The Meadows Foundation, The Murrell Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, Southern Methodist University, Sydney Smith Hicks, Todd A. Williams Family Foundation and the University of Texas at Dallas. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of Education Lab journalism.