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Press Release

Monday, February 3, 2014

DOE Press Office

Commissioner Pam Stewart Names Florida's Top School Leaders

~ Administrators honored for fostering school culture that leads to success ~

Tallahassee, Fla., February 3, 2014 - Commissioner Pam Stewart today recognized two of Florida's outstanding school administrators at a luncheon honoring district Principals of the Year and Assistant Principals of the Year.

Dr. Barbara Shirley, principal of Alta Vista Elementary School in Sarasota District Schools, took home the 2013-2014 Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership. Jeannie Inagawa, Assistant Principal at Cracker Trail Elementary School in Highlands School District, received the 2013-2014 Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award.

Governor Rick Scott said, "Great leaders are vital to preparing Florida's students for the jobs of the next generation. I thank the great leaders honored here today for their commitment and determination to ensure Florida's students achieve success in college and career."

"Principals and Assistant Principals are the unsung heroes of our education system," said Commissioner Pam Stewart. "School leaders set the tone and determine the school's path to success. Dr. Shirley and Ms. Inagawa both display extraordinary leadership and dedication to their students, teachers and parents. They both truly deserve this honor."

Prizes awarded to the top principal provided by Disney Youth Programs include an exclusive overnight stay at the Cinderella Castle Suite inside the Magic Kingdom Park along with theme park admission for the winner and his or her guests. The winner will also receive a cash prize of $5,000. The top assistant principal receives a weekend resort stay at the Walt Disney World Resort and theme park admission courtesy of Disney Youth Programs. The winner also receives a cash prize of $2,500.

Three state finalists were chosen by the department from district nominees and an overall winner was selected from each category. The principals and assistant principals are selected because of their ability to foster cultures that increase student performance, promote safe learning environments, and establish partnerships with parents and community members.

A full list of Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award district winners is located online.

The award ceremony closed out the 9th annual Commissioner's Summit for Principals which brings together outstanding school leaders to share best practices and receive recognition for their accomplishments. The Commissioner's Summit for Principals is hosted by the Florida Department of Education and supported by the Florida Education Foundation, the Florida Association of School Administrators and the Florida Association of District School Superintendents. Disney Youth Programs and Pearson sponsor the Summit events.