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Highland Park Elementary students Alaysia Williams (left) and Trevor Harmon take on the school’s principal, Mark Crummey (right), in a game of foosball.

The Virginia PTA awarded Highland Park Elementary Principal Mark Crummey with its top honor for elementary school principals.

Roanoke City Public Schools announced Crummey won the award this week.

Members of the local PTA nominated Crummey, who just finished his seventh school year at Highland Park Elementary. The award recognizes principals “who have shown that a strong family-school partnership is key to student success,” according to the state PTA’s website.

Crummey said he tries not to spend much time in the highs or lows in his career, but he’s “certainly pleased and appreciative” of the recognition.

“We try to do some things here at Highland Park I think are pretty creative and innovative,” Crummey said.

The school strives to have a strong, transparent team of employees and parents to build bridges with the community, Crummey said. One initiative Crummey said he’s proud of is using the school’s summer “book bus,” a 1968 Volkswagen, to deliver literature to the homes of Highland Park students in Roanoke’s Old Southwest, northwest and southeast neighborhoods.

“It’s an opportunity to be out where our students live and meet with them,” Crummey said. “They can check out books, and we can have conversations with their families.”

The school benefits greatly from strong partnerships with local organizations such as Congregations in Action, Crummy said. The group of downtown churches sends volunteers to the school each year to assist teachers and work with students.

Crummey said the school’s mission is to ensure students feel respected and prepared for secondary education by the time they reach fifth grade.

The state PTA also presents statewide awards for the top superintendent and secondary school principal.

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