Raising the level of excellence at any organization can be challenging, and her achievement in attaining this vision is inspiring.
Washington, D.C. (Vocus) September 5, 2007
Molly Howard, principal of Jefferson County High School in Louisville, Georgia, has been named the 2008 MetLife/National Association of Secondary School Principals National High School Principal of the Year. Howard has been at the helm of Jefferson County High since 1995, the year in which two county high schools were closed and consolidated, with mixed community reaction, to form Jefferson County High. Arriving during this very traumatic event in the community forced Howard to work even harder to assure residents that the change would be a good one.
Since then, Howard and her dedicated staff have changed the culture of learning in the school, by setting higher expectations and eliminating all lower level courses. When she arrived, only 20 percent of the school’s students were high achieving, 10 percent joined the military or attended technical schools and 70 percent graduated without seeking higher collegiate achievement. When Jefferson was built in 1995, over half of the county’s adult population didn’t have a high school education. Howard was determined to change that statistic.
Since Howard’s arrival, students now start the 9th grade at Jefferson taking college preparatory level English, math, science and social studies. Howard and her staff have turned Jefferson into a true professional community, implementing several strategies to increase collaboration among teachers in order to best serve the student population. An “Algebra That Works” (ATW) program was initiated, breaking Algebra I into four units and allowing students a greater chance of mastering the course. The results have been undeniable. Before the ATW program, during the 2003-2004 school year, only 41.7 percent of students at Jefferson met or exceeded the state-mandated end-of-course test for Algebra. During the 2006-2007 school year, 68 percent of students met or exceeded the standards.
“One of the most important things any principal can do is to instill a sense of hope in the school and the community. Molly has demonstrated remarkable skills as a leader in the face of some very difficult odds, and we are proud to recognize her for her efforts,” stated NASSP executive director Gerald N. Tirozzi.
“We applaud Molly Howard for her commitment to her students and for creating a vision for a high-performing school,” said Thomas G. Hogan, Jr., senior vice president and head of MetLife Resources. “Raising the level of excellence at any organization can be challenging, and her achievement in attaining this vision is inspiring.”
“In large measure, successful schools are the result of the dedication and creativity of their principals.” noted Sibyl Jacobson, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “The MetLife/NASSP Principal of the Year program recognizes this critical role and we are a proud sponsor.”
Howard will be honored during an awards banquet on October 27th in Washington, D.C. The search for the National Principal of the Year began in early 2007 as each state principal’s association selected its State Principal of the Year. From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selected three middle level and three high school finalists. Then, a national middle level winner and a national high school winner are selected.
The six finalists each receive a $1,500 grant. The two national award winners receive an additional grant of $3,500. The grants are used to promote the advancement of learning opportunities for students or other related investments such as capital improvements, the purchase of technology-related equipment, or funding specific educational programs.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals and MetLife are strongly committed to supporting the visions of unsung school leaders. Each year the MetLife/NASSP State and National Principal of the Year programs focus attention on the outstanding work principals do in middle level and high schools across the country. These individuals are recognized for their accomplishments as high-achieving principals, all the while making a daily investment in our children’s future.
For more information about the MetLife/NASSP State and National Principal of the Year programs and winners, please visit http://www.principals.org/awards or call Kristine Rzewnicki at 703-860-7238.
NASSP is the preeminent organization and the national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders. NASSP provides its members with the professional resources to serve as visionary leaders. NASSP promotes the intellectual growth, academic achievement, character development, leadership development, and physical well being of youth through its programs and student leadership services. NASSP administers the National Honor Society™, National Junior Honor Society™, and National Association of Student Councils™. For more information, visit http://www.principals.org.
MetLife Resources, a division of MetLife, provides retirement plans and other financial services to healthcare, education, and not-for-profit organizations. MetLife, a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET) is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to millions of individual and institutional customers throughout the United States. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. offers life insurance, annuities, automobile and homeowner’s insurance and retail banking services to individuals, as well as group insurance, reinsurance and retirement and savings products and services to corporations and other institutions. Outside the U.S., the MetLife companies have direct insurance operations in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe. Established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its long-standing tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement, MetLife Foundation focuses on supporting programs that explore current issues in education, many of which address issues raised in the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher. For more information about MetLife, please visit the company’s Web site at http://www.metlife.com. Additional information about the Foundation is available at http://www.metlife.org.
Shana Kemp, NASSP
Holly Sheffer, MetLife
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