Florida Taxwatch announces top principals in high-risk schools

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Principals are critical leaders in the education system. They are effective managers, role models and are the face of the school to the taxpayers. For these reasons and many more, Florida TaxWatch, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research institute, is proud to have established the Principal Leadership Awards program in 2014 to identify Florida’s most effective principals in K-12 public schools.

Today, Florida TaxWatch announced this year’s top performing principals, who help students achieve in Florida’s high-risk public schools. These nine principals will be recognized on November 17th, 2016 at the 4th Annual Florida TaxWatch Principal Leadership Awards in Orlando. At this ceremony, three will take home top honors and an additional cash prize for their work with Florida students.

Recognition is based on analysis of student achievement gains in reading and mathematics in schools that have high percentages of students with disabilities, students designated as English as a Second Language learners, and those eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch. No nominations were accepted for the awards; the Principal Leadership Awards is an entirely data-driven program based on performance and results.

The 2016 honorees are:

  • Kim Register, Vernon Middle School, Washington County
  • Alexandra Prieto, Somerset Academy Miramar, Broward County
  • James Neer, Monarch High School, Broward County
  • Jeffrey Pegg, Wynnebrook Elementary School, Palm Beach County
  • Edward Burke, Lantana Middle School, Palm Beach County
  • Eduardo Tagle, Ben Sheppard Elementary School, Miami-Dade County
  • Nataly Parra, Lincoln-Marti Charter School, Miami-Dade County
  • Carlos Alvarez, City of Hialeah Educational Academy, Miami-Dade County
  • Larry Moore, Graceville High School, Jackson County

Principals Pegg, Parra and Moore have been recognized for their dedication to students and have been promoted to other schools or positions during the process of selecting them as Principal Leadership Award winners.

The Florida TaxWatch Principal Leadership Award is the only honor given to principals who exceed expected learning gains for at-risk students in low-income, high-risk schools.

“These nine principals are shattering the status quo and giving these students an opportunity to be successful not just in the classroom, but outside it as well,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “This year’s honorees prove that by putting students first, we can foster a learning environment that leads to a successful and fruitful education and life. These results, with the right leader, can be realized in every school across the state and nation.”

“At the Florida Lottery, our sole mission is to support Florida’s students and schools by generating additional funds for education,” said Florida Lottery Secretary Tom Delacenserie. “We have been a proud sponsor of TaxWatch’s Principal Leadership Awards for many years, and look forward to many more years of honoring the outstanding educators who dedicate their lives to making a positive impact on our communities by helping our students succeed.”

“As a business leader, I understand the importance in preparing all students for success in the classroom and beyond,” said David Mann, Chairman of the Florida TaxWatch Center for Educational Performance and Accountability and SunTrust Commercial Real Estate Banking Group EVP. “These award-winning principals are helping tomorrow’s business leaders achieve extraordinary learning gains and I thank each of them for their excellent work.”

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