Educator Profile    Educators

Andrea Trio (WV '22)


Madison Elementary
Wheeling, WV

Grade(s): Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

At the time of the Award, Andrea Trio was:

Madison Elementary
Wheeling, WV

Grade(s): Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Biographical Information

At Madison Elementary in Wheeling, West Virginia, everything Principal Andrea Trio does centers around one key question: What is best for the students? Trio helps her staff create effective instructional practices by focusing on the whole child with a tiered system of academic, behavioral and mental health services. This is especially important for Madison’s high-need, highly transient community, where three-quarters of students live in poverty, a quarter have special needs, and many experience instability and trauma at home. Trio keeps personalized data about each student, updating it as they move from grade to grade, to provide supports and collaborate with middle school administrators. Instead of traditional exclusionary disciplinary practices like detention and suspension, Trio focuses on finding gaps and building skills with social-emotional learning strategies. Each classroom has a de-escalation space with materials to help students self-regulate, with trained “Cougar Care Team” staff members ready to step in if more help is needed. Trio has shared this innovative approach to discipline with other administrators in the district, reminding them that “suspension is no intervention.”

Trio has built strong partnerships with local organizations on Wheeling Island and throughout the region. At this year’s annual back-to-school event, 20 community partners provided students with school supplies and prizes. Sorority sisters from a nearby college and volunteers from local nonprofits mentor Madison students, interacting with both children and families. Madison’s outdoor play area used to consist of an asphalt lot surrounded by a chain link fence. Yet Trio envisioned a sustainable outdoor learning environment incorporating activities to boost academics, community building, conflict resolution and social skills. Working with the House of the Carpenter, a nondenominational nonprofit in Wheeling, Trio raised $250,000 to build a new “Cougars on the Move” playground, now the pride of the school. When the pandemic closed school buildings in 2020, Trio established a remote learning center where at-risk students could get meals, internet access, tutoring and support services. Before Christmas that year, she put together gift bags with mugs, hot chocolate mix and books; staff delivered the packages, taking the opportunity to perform wellness checks on students.

A former music educator, Trio often sings with students, providing calming moments in the children’s often-chaotic lives. She builds genuine, trusting relationships with families and adeptly communicates with families of all backgrounds. Trio’s focus on the whole child sets Madison students up for success. She keeps track of graduates and checks in on them as they move to middle school and beyond, inviting them back to Madison as role models when they graduate from high school. Madison’s motto is “Stronger Together,” a fitting description of the ties Trio builds among students, families, staff and the larger community.

Trio earned a bachelor’s in music education in 2005 from West Virginia University and a master’s in educational leadership in 2014 from Hood College.

Press release: Wheeling's Singing Principal Makes Madison Elementary "Stronger Together" Through Music

Related Connections

Article: West Virginia: Letters to Future Educators

Article: Spotlight: Andrea Trio (WV '22)

Educator Quote:

"You all sitting on the floor, you know how much I..." (read more)

Andrea Trio In The News

State BOE Recognizes Milken Educator from Wheeling
MetroNews Radio Network  |  Apr 12, 2023  |  Charleston, WV

Hood Alumni Receive Awards in Education
Hood College  |  Mar 21, 2023  |  Frederick, MD

WATCH --> Ft. Andrea Trio A.K.A. The Singing Principal
Soup N' Stuff Podcast  |  Nov 22, 2022  |  Wheeling, WV

WATCH --> The Good Stuff: Local Principal Honored with Milken Educator Award
KDKA-TV  |  CBS  |  Nov 16, 2022  |  Pittsburgh, PA

Madison Elementary Principal Surprised with $25,000 Milken Award
The Intelligencer | Wheeling News Register  |  Nov 04, 2022  |  Wheeling, WV

WATCH --> Madison Elementary Principal Earns Milken Educator Award
WTOV-TV  |  NBC/FOX  |  Nov 03, 2022  |  Mingo Junction, OH

WATCH --> West Virginia singing Principal Named one of America's Best Educators with $25,000 Award
WTRF-TV  |  CBS/ABC  |  Nov 03, 2022  |  Wheeling, WV

LISTEN --> Ohio County Principal Earns National Milken Educator Award
MetroNews Radio network  |  Nov 03, 2022  |  Charleston, WV

Wheeling Island Principal Receives $25,000 Milken Award
West Virginia Public Broadcasting  |  NPR  |  Nov 03, 2022  |  Charleston, WV

Additional Information


2014 M.S., Educational Leadership, Hood College

2005 B.A., Music Education K-12, West Virginia University