2018 Visionary Leadership Awards
Dumar Burgess, principal of Hawthorne Park Elementary School in Willingboro, was named Visionary Leader of the Year, Elementary Level Principal; Matthew Jamison, Ed.D., principal of Ocean City High School, was named Visionary Leader of the Year, Secondary Level Principal; Tara Oliveira, assistant principal of Governor Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights, was named Visionary Leader of the Year, Secondary Level Assistant Principal; and Timothy Conway, director of school counseling and curriculum coordinator for Lakeland Regional High School, was named Visionary Leader of the Year, Supervisor/Director. Each received his/her award at the NJPSA/FEA/NJASCD Fall Conference at the Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch, NJ in October 2018.
Dumar Burgess, Visionary Principal of the Year, Elementary Level, 2018
Dumar Burgess began his tenure as the principal at Hawthorne Park Elementary in 2010 and discovered an antiquated literacy program in need of an update. To solve this problem, he identified Balanced Literacy Framework as the new literacy program to improve teacher practice. Further, he built a relationship with Children’s Literacy Initiative of Philadelphia, which developed a plan for teachers to collaborate and plan together, to use data to implement authentic lessons, and build collegiality, which helped establish an improved climate and culture. Dumar is also the New Jersey recipient of the NAESP National Distinguished Principal Award.
Dr. Matthew Jamison, Visionary Principal of the Year, Secondary Level, 2018
Dr. Matthew Jamison implemented Professional Learning Communities as principal of Ocean City High School years before their inclusion in AchieveNJ teacher evaluation. Building administrative time for PLCs has enabled the faculty to revise standards, establish common sense assessments, and develop assessment guides through curriculum. Ocean City High School has become a model school for creating Student Growth Objectives and is being studied by Rutgers University for its work in this area. Matt is also the New Jersey recipient of the NASSP Principal of the Year Award.
Tara Oliveira, Visionary Leader of the Year, Assistant Principal, 2018
As assistant principal,Tara Oliveira was instrumental in bringing Google for Education platform to Governor Livingston High School, representing a cultural transition and significant change for how the school communicated with students and staff. She designed a specific administrative folder and sub folders within Google Drive that holds all of the documents and information teachers needs. The project was so successful, she was subsequently charged with bringing Google to other schools in the district. Tara's colleagues laud her for her infectious energy, enthusiasm, and determination to ensure that every student in the school graduates and succeeds. Tara also received the New Jersey NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year Award.
Tim Conway, Visionary Leader of the Year, Supervisor/Director, 2018
As director of school counseling for Lakeland Regional High School, Timothy Conway helped the school achieve the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Recognition ASCA Model Program (RAMP) award for providing a comprehensive, data-driven, and proactive school counseling program. Lakeland is the only New Jersey school to earn this distinction and serves as a model for other schools attempting to achieve a RAMP award. Over the past eight years, Lakeland has reduced its dropout rate to its lowest in school history, and has increased its average college-going and post-secondary education rates.
NJPSA Congratulates the 2017-18 Student Leadership Scholarship Recipients
The New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association congratulates the 25 graduating seniors in New Jersey who have been awarded a 2017-2018 Student Leadership Scholarship. Each Student Leadership Scholarship carries a $2,000 award for the recipient’s demonstrated leadership in school activities for participation in co-curricular activities other than athletics. Winners are selected from each of the three regions of our state – north, central, and south.
2017 Visionary Leadership Awards
Dr. Tammy Bowling Jenkins, Visionary Principal of the Year, Elementary Level, 2017
For 12 years, Dr. Jenkins has served as principal of Sunnymead Elementary, a pre-Kindergarten through fourth grade school in which one out of every five students qualifies for free/reduced lunch. Out of the nine schools in the Hillsborough District, Sunnymead has the highest percentage of students living at or near the poverty level. Despite this challenge, Sunnymead’s students typically perform at the highest levels in the district due to Dr. Jenkins’ leadership and the climate and culture she has built with her faculty and staff. In addition, through creative scheduling and staffing, Dr. Jenkins has created an opportunity for students to receive timely, targeted intervention and/or enrichment every day without disrupting or impacting core subjects. Tammy is also the New Jersey recipient of the NAESP National Distinguished Principal Award.
John Farinella, Visionary Principal of the Year, Secondary Level, 2017
As the principal of Rahway High School, John Farinella has led two important initiatives: Rutgers Future Scholars (RFS) and the Freshman Transition Program (FTP). RFS identifies promising incoming 7th grade students whose parents have not graduated from college and mentors them throughout their high school years. If those students earn admission to Rutgers University, they are able to go tuition free. Mr. Farinella was instrumental in laying the foundation for RFS at Rahway and in helping to secure the financial backing for the program. In addition, FTP has supported all students as they acclimate to high school and focus on their academic life plan. Under Mr. Farinella’s leadership and guidance, Rahway’s FTP has developed into a comprehensive and nationally recognized program. These are just two of the many programs that John has brought to Rahway High School, which was named by New Jersey Monthly magazine as one of the top ten most improved high schools in the state. John is also the New Jersey recipient of the NASSP Principal of the Year Award.
Bard Currie, Visionary Leader of the Year, Assistant Principal, 2017, and National NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year
Brad Currie serves as vice principal of Black River Middle School in Chester and has led several initiatives, including a 1:1 Chromebook initiative, Makerspace, Google Apps for Education, an EdCamp-style in-service day focusing on technology integration. He also relies on the student voice to improve the Chromebook environment through the Chromebook Committee, the Student Roundtable, and the Tech Detectives Club. He is the author of three books -- All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities; Personalized PDS: Flipping Your Professional Development; and 140 Twitter Tips for Educators. He is a Google Certified Trainer, a Google Certified Educator, and an Adjunct Professor at Drew University. Brad is also well-known for his effective use of social media, and is one of the creators of #SATCHAT, a weekly Twitter chat for educational leaders. In July 2017, Brad received the National NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year Award.
Monica Carmichael, Visionary Leader of the Year, Supervisor/Director, 2017
Monica Carmichael is credited with rebuilding a broken climate and culture in the Early Childhood Department in Trenton around the concept that “we are a school of fish, moving together with the same outcome in mind” and forming a united strong force within the district and state regarding preschool programming. She supported her team by planning and executing Professional Development days, as well as a Professional Development cycle on leadership trainings at the College of New Jersey. Ms. Carmichael promotes team effort and effectively motivates her staff to attain organizational and school goals and to raise student achievement.
Dr. Denise King, Visionary Principal of the Year, Elementary Level, 2016
Dr. King has served as an advocate for nurturing and sustaining a culture conducive to developing the intellectual, creative and social potential for each learner at B. Bernice Young Elementary School. Dr. King is a true advocate for the underrepresented student and uses data-driven instruction to keep student achievement at the forefront of her agenda. She introduced “Fundations” in all kindergarten classrooms for phonics and phonemic awareness and provided a guided reading approach to literacy instruction within a differentiated classroom environment. Dr. King also ensures a safe and secure environment for her students and was integral in the execution of a safety and security initiative called Project Guardian. She has fostered a family atmosphere among the faculty, staff, students, and parents who universally laud her for making B. Bernice Young an outstanding school where children thrive and have fun while learning. Denise is also the New Jersey recipient of the NAESP Valic National Distinguished Principal Award.
Lenore Kingsmore, Visionary Principal of the Year, Secondary Level, 2016
As the principal at Henry Hudson Regional School, Lenore Kingsmore has worked collaboratively with students, staff, and parents to improve the climate and culture, as well as advanced placement scores, in her school. She also created a school-within-a-school for her middle school students, which has resulted in improved standardized test scores, attendance, and discipline. Last year, she introduced, into the self-contained middle school, a therapy dog who assists students who are having a difficult time emotionally or just need stress reduction.. This Golden Doodle named "Hudson" has allowed students with disabilities to improve their communication skills and behavior. This has proven to be a very positive initiative for the entire school community. Kingsmore was also instrumental in helping her community in the days and weeks following Super Storm Sandy, as Henry Hudson School was turning into a shelter housing and feeding hundreds of people who had lost their homes. Lenore is also the New Jersey recipient of the NASSP Principal of the Year Award.
Allison Staffin, Visionary Leader of the Year, Assistant Principal, 2016
Allison Staffin serves as the assistant principal of Cherry Hill High School West. She is also the Title I coordinator, promoting the achievements of students deemed at-promise for improved performance on high stakes tests in math and English and encouraging parental and community involvement. She has created cross-content professional learning communities and mandatory peer observation protocols for collaboration, allowing staff to explore the commonalities between practices and the ability to instruct students using a common vocabulary. She has spent her entire career in Cherry Hill, first as a student teacher, then as a teacher, and now as assistant principal. She successfully implemented a plan to close the Achievement Gap and to get Cherry Hill West off of the "School-in-Need-of-Improvement" list. Allison is also the New Jersey recipient of the NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year Award.
Timothy Craig, Visionary Leader of the Year, Supervisor/Director, 2016
Tim Craig, Director of Fine and Performing Arts and Business Education for the Bayonne Public Schools, creates, builds, and develops meaningful arts educational opportunities for his students. He finds creative and cost-effective ways to ensure that the students of Bayonne have equitable access to learning opportunities in dance, music, theater, and the visual arts, regardless of economic status. He developed the Academy for Fine and Performing Arts and Academics to provide career track options for students in STEM, the Humanities, and the Fine and Performing Arts. His students develop close bonds in the academy as they work together to develop their crafts and prepare for their futures.
2015 Visionary Leadership Awards
Emil Carafa, Visionary Principal of the Year, Elementary Level, 2015
In addition to his duties as principal at Washington School, Emil Carafa has been a leader in the educational community, serving as a board member and immediate past president of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA). In addition, he served on the Educator Leaders’ Cadre for Common Core and PARCC, which helped him turnkey transitions that had to be made in order to change instruction. An instructional leader who spends a great deal of time in the classrooms, Emil focuses on the culture and climate of his school to ensure that parents, teachers and students are involved in the conversation to bring the necessary changes to improve student achievement.
Deidre Ortiz, Visionary Principal of the Year, Secondary Level, 2015
As the principal at Quibbletown Middle School, Deidre Ortiz instituted a new period into the school schedule call WIN (What I Need). During this time, students who need extra academic support during the day can create and execute learning plans for themselves. Teachers can use this time to meet with students who are experiencing difficulty in a particular area, and then develop a learning plan in consultation with school counselors, parents, teachers and students. Following the implementation of WIN, the 2012-2013 New Jersey School Performance Report rated Quibbletown as “high when compared to schools across the state.” Quibbletown has also significantly narrowed the achievement gap over the past several years.
Milissa Dachisen, Visionary Leader of the Year, Assistant Principal, 2015
Milissa Dachisen serves as the vice principal and director of special services at Oxford Central School in Oxford. Milissa has spearheaded two campaigns to raise awareness for Autism and Down Syndrome, which led to the Oxford School being recognized as a National School of Character and receiving many other awards. Beginning by helping the students understand the challenges of those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the initiative expanded into an event called “All Together for Autism,” attended by hundreds of Warren County residents to raise money for Autism Speaks and Autism NJ. She was then able to bring in the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program and initiate a new schoolwide program to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness.
Traci Shaw, Visionary Leader of the Year, Supervisor/Director, 2015
Since joining Freehold Township in 2008, Traci Shaw has led the effort to build and sustain a vibrant, flourishing professional culture and climate at the Catena School, which was recognized in 2011 as a National School of Character and in 2012 with the Promising Practices designation for addressing character education. Traci is responsible for providing high-quality professional development to Freehold teachers, which has positively impacted the education of thousands of students through her work pertaining to instructional best practices. She is also dedicated to building morale among the staff by steadily working with all staff members to keep spirits strong and ready for new and upcoming challenges.