By: Sharon Aron Baron
Broward County Public Schools have just announced six finalists for the District’s 2016 Principal of the Year and one of them is from a Coral Springs school.
James S. Hunt Elementary School Principal Ernie Lozano has been selected as one of the six finalists. What makes Lozano a standout is that he introduced a new leadership style to the school when he recognized that school grade data was on a downward trend.
Lozano eliminated top-down management, desks lined in rows, and teachers using worksheets which directed student learning. Over a four-year period, teachers collaboratively facilitate leadership and student learning. As a result, reading, writing, math and science scores have increased significantly.
Being a finalist is no easy task. First, nominations are submitted from schools, staff, students, parents and/or community members for the principal of the year. Next, the nominees are invited to complete application packets. During the final stage, a District screening committee reviews the application packets, and interviews the top six candidates. The principal with the highest combined application and interview scores is selected as the Principal of the Year.
What makes Lozano a finalist is that he is visible and involved with teachers, students and families, Lozano also leads by example among his peers. He serves as a mentor and shares best practices with District programs.
Lozano as well as the other five finalists now compete to become the District’s top education leader. The winner will be announced during the Centennial Caliber Awards recognizing outstanding employees on Friday, April 1, 2016, at 6 p.m., at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.
Here are the other five finalists for 2016 Principal of the Year:
Dr. Jermaine Fleming, Principal, Nova Middle School
As a leader, Jermaine Fleming’s priority is building capacity. He believes that finding and developing the best teachers and administrators are critical components of the academic culture. Fleming also believes that middle school students can benefit from more rigorous courses and high school credit courses, such as law studies, debate, industry certification in Adobe Photoshop, and a variety of enrichment courses, which are part of his school’s offerings. In four years as principal at Nova Middle, Fleming has used his leadership skills to recruit and develop other educators and administrators.
Dr. Lewis Jackson, Principal, Dania Elementary School
An advocate for students, Lewis Jackson views the role of principal as instrumental to the culture of education and student achievement. When he became principal of Dania Elementary, his primary challenge was to rebuild staff morale and stakeholder involvement, while striving for greater achievement for all students. Jackson believes high-quality personnel almost always trump programs. In addition to developing a strong team at Dania Elementary, he shares his passion and professionalism by teaching aspiring leaders, and serves as a mentor and coach to other principals.
Dr. Karlton Johnson, Principal, Blanche Ely High School
When Karlton Johnson arrived at Blanche Ely High eight years ago, enrollment was declining, the physical facility was in poor condition and students were not engaged. His goal was to transform the school to create a stronger community, and to help students embrace their educational opportunities. Since 2010, the school has improved its state letter grade from a C to an A. Enrollment has increased and dual enrollment has grown, as well. The overall graduation rate at Blanche Ely High is now the highest in school’s history at 90 percent, and the graduation rate for black male students is the second highest in the District. Ninety-six percent of Blanche Ely High magnet students attend four-year colleges and universities, and many earn scholarships.
Jon Marlow, Principal, Deerfield Beach High School
A visible and trustworthy visionary, Jon Marlow’s focus is on the future of Deerfield Beach High. He created a climate for academic excellence and social development. Marlow implements programs that foster emotional, physical and academic well-being for all students. He has achieved this at Deerfield Beach High by reversing poor performance and finding solutions for problems associated with student behavior. The school has improved its state letter grade from a C to an A in 2015, and its graduation rate has increased significantly.
Elaine L. Saef, Principal, Panther Run Elementary School
Elaine Saef views her role as principal as one of removing barriers and providing essentials, while leading and inspiring teachers to teach and students to learn. During her tenure at Panther Run Elementary, she created two signature programs: Pay it Forward and What I Am Makes A Difference. These award-winning innovations are unique school strengths and are effective in developing a caring culture in the school and community. She has developed a positive school culture that effectively puts students first, emphasizes academics, and builds teacher trust and adaptability.
The Centennial Caliber Awards presenting and title sponsor is BrightStar Credit Union. Also supporting the Centennial Caliber Awards are platinum sponsor Bank of America, gold sponsor After School Programs, Inc., silver sponsors Pearson and Sunshine Child Care, copper sponsors Grand Canyon University and JC White, and bronze sponsor Catapult Learning.