Speaking of good principals earlier today on this blog: I just received this news release:
Timothy Dixon, principal of Waycross (GA) Middle School, has been named a finalist in the 2012 MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program for his significant contributions to student achievement.
In his four years as principal of Waycross, Dixon has earned a great deal of respect from colleagues, teachers, parents, and community members. Committed to collaborative leadership, he rallies his staff members to take accountability for student success and he ensures that they participate in the major decisions that impact the school. He also works closely with the PTA and forges strong relationships with local business leaders.
“Dixon is loved by the school community,” said Joseph Barrow Jr., superintendent of Ware County Schools. “He models values, beliefs, and attitudes that encourage others to high levels of performance.”
By supporting the development of programs that underscore equity and rigor, Dixon ensures that all 578 students’ needs are met. After taking stock of the school’s culture when he became principal, he met with the leadership team to revise Waycross’ vision, mission, and goals to more effectively reach its diverse student population.
Now, student-staff mentoring programs, teacher self-evaluations, faculty study groups, before- and in-school tutoring, and targeted interventions are commonplace in the middle school. Students and teachers are also required to participate in at least one of the school’s 29 clubs, and can choose from activities like debate, rodeo, skateboarding, and even a support group for students with incarcerated parents.
With Dixon’s help, Waycross has produced dramatic gains in state math and reading scores among all student subgroups. In math, the percentage of black students reaching the proficient and advanced levels jumped from 72 percent in 2007 to 81 percent in 2009. In reading, 82 percent of economically disadvantaged students reached the proficient and advanced benchmark in 2009, increasing from 74 percent in 2007. Discipline referrals also dropped from 912 to 631 in the span of three years — a true testament to the dedication of Dixon and his staff.
The search for the national principal of the year began in early 2011 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. The national middle level and high school winners will be named in September and recognized in Washington, DC, during the Principals’ Institute for State and National Principals of the Year, September 21-24.
Dixon and the other five finalists will each receive a $1,500 grant, and the two national award winners — one high school and one middle level — will receive additional grants of $3,500. The grants will be used to improve learning at the school (e.g. a special school project and/or professional development opportunities).
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog