Mickey Mouse wasn’t the only one having a magical time last week, just ask the 37 Florida principals and assistant principals who were honored as the best school leaders in the state.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was serving as a Marion County school principal, so you can imagine how exciting it was to recognize the hard work and dedication of these wonderful leaders. Each of the attendees was nominated by their district to attend the 2014 Commissioner’s Leadership Academy, acknowledging the critical role their leadership plays in student and school success.
I felt very fortunate to know and have worked with several of the district winners. In fact, one of the honorees, Principal John McCollum, was my mentor while I was an elementary school principal in Marion County.
Like John, most of the principals attending the summit came from schools where almost all of their students are on free- or reduced-price lunch plans. What inspires me about these principals is that they do not let a student’s circumstances get in the way of the school’s ability to provide a first-rate education.
When it was my turn to address the attendees, I thanked them for being on the front lines with students, teachers and parents every day. Although the work can be overwhelming, Florida teachers and principals are truly making a difference in the lives of children, ensuring they are prepared for the future…and hopefully having a little fun along the way.
Commissioner Pam Stewart
Florida Department of Education