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Press Release

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Outstanding School Leaders Honored

~ Principal and Assistant Principal Leadership Awards Pay Tribute to Exemplary Leadership ~

TALLAHASSEE – Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith and Public Schools Chancellor Dr. Frances Haithcock today recognized two exceptional school leaders as the recipients of the 2009-10 Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and the Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award during a luncheon at the Florida Association of District School Superintendents spring meeting. Cynthia Denise Phillips-Luster, principal of James Stephens International Academy in Lee County was named Florida’s top principal, and Priscilla Ribeiro, formerly assistant principal of Cypress Bay High School and now principal of New River Middle School in Broward County, was named as the state’s top assistant principal. The winners were also recognized by the Florida Legislature for their contributions to education.

“It is a pleasure to recognize Principal Phillips-Luster and Assistant Principal Ribeiro for their exceptional dedication in cultivating an atmosphere of learning and partnership,” said Commissioner Smith. “They exhibit a profound commitment to their school and community that sets an incredible example of what can be accomplished.”

Principal Phillips-Luster was presented with a check for $5,000 and Assistant Principal Ribeiro was presented with a check for $2,500; their schools will receive $1,000 and $500, respectively. District winners will also receive a monetary award and a certificate of appreciation signed by Commissioner Smith that signifies their commitment to their schools and communities.

“The principal and assistant principal truly are a school’s heart and soul,” said Public Schools Chancellor Dr. Frances Haithcock. “Both Principal Phillips-Luster and Assistant Principal Ribeiro have used their exceptional skills to attract talented educators and nurture great teaching that supports their students, teachers, parents and community.”

The Principal and Assistant Principal Awards for Outstanding Leadership recognize Florida’s top school administrators for their work to increase student academic performance, promote safe learning environments and establish partnerships with parents and community members. State winners were chosen from district nominees by a statewide selection committee, and an overall winner was selected for each category.

For more information about the Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and the Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award, including a list of district winners, visit http://www.fldoe.org/profdev/rec_prog.asp.