As principal of Belmont Middle School for the last 11 years, Aaron Pope has helmed a powerful transition from traditional instruction to individualized, 21st Century teaching and learning, earning the school recognition as a vibrant learning community. When data revealed achievement gaps in ELA and Math four years ago, Pope rolled out several ambitious initiatives to ensure growth through data-based assessment and instruction, including mixed-level learning labs, targeted intervention blocks, and varied enrichment programming. Meanwhile, he mobilized resources for his teachers in performance-based instruction and assessment practices, which has helped to clarify expectations and encourage student goal-setting and team teaching. As a result, the school has successfully closed the achievement gap and now employs a multi-pronged assessment and instruction strategy to sustain and deepen school-wide achievement gains; BMS recently received the National Blue Ribbon for a high achieving school. Belmont Middle School was also recognized as the 2018 New Hampshire Middle School of the Year for their engaging learning environment that empowers their students. Pope is a lifelong learner and maintains active research interests in PLCs, mass customized learning, grading and assessment, school culture, and technology. He holds a B.A. in General Science from Notre Dame College and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Keene State College, as well as state certifications in General Science and Principalship.