Principal Kenneth King and Assistant Principal Winfred Porter

By: Sharon Aron Baron

A principal from Heron Heights Elementary School and an assistant principal from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been selected by Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) as finalists for Principal of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year.

Each year, the District recognizes school leaders for their outstanding leadership and tireless efforts to establish environments that are conducive to the pursuit and achievement of academic excellence.

Named a finalist for Principal of the Year, Kenneth King has been the only leader at Heron Heights Elementary School since its opening in 2009. “One Team, One Goal,” is the motto and culture cultivated by King at Heron Heights Elementary. “We strive to improve the learning of students every day,” he said. Celia Marino, literacy coach at the school says, “Working collaboratively with teachers, parents and other community members, Mr. King engages the school culture to always put students first and meet each student’s individual needs.”

Named a finalist for Assistant Principal of the Year, Winfred Porter has served as assistant principal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for the last four years. “Over the past four years, I have had the pleasure of working with my principal to maintain high expectations for all students, while making the appropriate changes to promote sustained academic excellence for all students,” said Porter. Principal Ty Thompson said, “Mr. Porter is a positive and enthusiastic addition to our administrative team, who values the perspectives and opinions of his colleagues. He has spearheaded and organized many of our programs with innovative approaches to motivate and inspire all stakeholders.”

Other BCPS Principal of the Year Finalists:

Tammy Gilbert has spent the last 10 years as principal at Silver Lakes Elementary School. “I am proud to have built a positive culture that supports academic and emotional growth for all students, faculty and staff,” said Gilbert. “We must all grow for our students to grow.” Speaking on behalf of his colleague, Sea Castle Elementary School Principal Rick Rodriguez said, “She continually sets high expectations and demands that her students work with rigor. As a result, her school improved from a ‘D’ to an ‘A’ in one year!”

Michelle Kefford has been principal at Charles W. Flanagan High School for the past seven years. “Overall, I can say with confidence that I have changed the culture of Flanagan High in a truly positive and impactful way,” said Kefford. “My journey as a principal began by stressing to all staff it was imperative that we subscribe to a personalized approach to learning. This was crucial and key to the success of our students, and has become the hallmark of our practice.” Kefford’s director, Alan Strauss, calls her “a passionate educator, who is dedicated and relentless in her commitment to ensure that the students she serves receive a first-class, high-quality education.”

Other BCPS Assistant Principal of the Year Finalists:

Annette Johnson, a 27-year veteran educator, has spent the last 11 years as an administrator at Sheridan Technical College & High School. She is responsible for managing the school’s name change from Sheridan Technical Center to Sheridan Technical College, in 2014. “Annette has devoted her entire career to workforce education and institutional advancement, and demonstrates a remarkable ability to teach, inspire people and to lead,” said her director, Thomas Moncilovich. “She believes deeply in the power of higher education and has dedicated her professional career to furthering the futures of our post-secondary and career dual enrollment students.”

John Murray has spent the last 11 of his 23 years at Miramar High School as assistant principal. “I believe I have had a tremendous impact on our successes here at Miramar High,” says Murray. “I truly believe I work at the best school in Broward County.” Principal Maria Formoso agrees and notes that “Mr. Murray prides himself in building relationships with his students and parents. He is devoted to the community of Miramar High. With our students, he is supportive, genuine and expects nothing but the best from each of them.”

As finalists, they will be honored at the 2018 Caliber Awards Ceremony, recognizing the District’s outstanding teachers, principals, assistant principals and school-related/District employees. The ceremony takes place on Thursday, February 1, 2018, at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

The Caliber Awards presenting sponsor is BrightStar Credit Union. Also supporting the Caliber Awards are: platinum sponsors Aetna, Bank of America and Nova Southeastern University – Abraham S. Fischler School of Education; silver sponsors After School Programs, Inc. (ASP), Broward Principals’ and Assistants’ Association (BPAA), Office Depot, Pearson, PNC Bank and Sunshine Child Programs; and bronze sponsors CEI Staffing, Herff Jones, Memorial Healthcare System/Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital,Schoolfundraising4kids, Spectrum Tours and The Corradino Group.

Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Parkland Talk. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.

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