Local Catholic Principal is One of the Best in the Nation

October 25, 2011 Updated Oct 25, 2011 at 12:24 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

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October 25, 2011 Updated Oct 25, 2011 at 12:24 PM EDT

Tonawanda, N.Y. (WKBW) - Meet Principal James Mule. His students at St. Amelia Catholic School said he's a leader, role model and the best principal in town.

"He's just really awesome," student Bridget Pontiella said.

Some very important people agree. Mr. Mule was one of only 61 principals across the entire country and the globe to receive the 2011 National Distinguished Principal Awards. He traveled all the way to Washington D.C to be honored.

"We had a state reception at the State Department, tour of the White House and then had a black tie dinner," Mule said.

Under his leadership, the school received many awards including the "National School of Excellence" and it has become the biggest Catholic school in the Diocese of Buffalo.

"Mr. Mule works tirelessly for Catholic education. He has spent 17 years at St. Amelia's School as principal. He was honored last spring by the National Catholic Organization for their Distinguished Principal Award which let to him being inducted into this class of 2011 National Elementary School award," Co-worker Nancy Kindred said.

Hundreds of essays line the wall, all describing what students love about their award-winning principal.

"He makes good rules and if we follow them we'll be good students," Adam Converse said.

Kindred said he puts students first.

"He's wonderful. He supports everyone completely. He's enthusiastic, compassionate, passionate about what he does as a principal," Kindred said.

The students and teachers had a surprise celebration of their own Monday for Mr. Mule but he credits his success right back to them.

"All the recognition I received is really to the dedication to the parents, students and especially the teachers for all the hard work they do every day," Mule said.