Q&A with Principal Tom Harmas, named Indiana Principal of the Year

Da-Hyun Hong

What are the requirements to receive this award?

“It’s the Indiana Association of School Principals. It is divided into 12 different regions. We’re in Region 5. There’s probably 60 to 70 high schools in Region 5. With that, you are nominated by somebody—I don’t even know who nominated me—to Region 5 for Principal of the Year. I’m sure some other people were nominated, and they look at your resume, your accomplishments, all that good stuff. I was chosen as a Region 5 principal of the year. After I was chosen as Region 5 Principal of the Year, a student, a parent, a teacher, and an administrator write a letter of recommendation for you and you fill out all kinds of accomplishments and so forth, and then you send it to the state. The state then looks at the twelve elementary people, middle school people, and high school people. They pick a representative for the state of Indiana; that’s what I was chosen for. From there, they pick one of those people to go to the National Principal of the Year awards. I was honored enough to be the selection from the state of Indiana to go to Washington D.C. in late September/early October as the representative of all the principals of the state of Indiana. I know that all I am is a representative of all the great work that all principals do in their buildings, and I’m honored to represent those people.”


How did you feel when you found out you were Indiana Principal of the Year?

“I was shocked. I really didn’t think that I would be that person. I remember Mrs. Skeens-Benton a couple of months ago saying, ‘You know, you better prepare some remarks for that.’ And I said, ‘There is no way that I’m going to be Principal of the Year and so forth.’ So I didn’t have any remarks planned. I got up there and the first thing I said was ‘Wow. I really am honored to be up here in front of you.’

Da-Hyun Hong
These are the awards Principal Tom Harmas received after the Indiana Association of School Principals named him Indiana Principal of the Year. Harmas said the opportunity to represent all Indiana principals is an honor.

Right at that time, all of our assistant principals, people from ESE, and administrators from around the district walk in the back of the banquet hall, and I just kind of lost track of my mind. I can’t remember exactly what I said after that, but to see my colleagues take time out of their Sunday evening to come down and be part of the recognition—because this is a great honor for me personally, but also, I share this with all those people who have helped me, that I’ve learned from, and my mentors throughout the years to be in this position.”


What does this mean for CHS?

“I think it brings a positive exposure to Carmel High School. When people hear about Carmel High School, they hear about all of our great accomplishments. They also hear when something goes wrong. We are so much further on the side of accomplishments, and this is just another thing. I also represent Carmel High School in this and all the great work that everyone of our staff members does, all the great accomplishments that our students have. Knowing that our students come to school ready and prepared to learn, it’s a really awesome place to be.”