NJPSA Announces 2017 Visionary Leadership Award Winners

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The New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2016-2017 Visionary Leadership Awards.

Tammy Bowling Jenkins, Ed.D., principal of Sunnymead Elementary School in Hillsborough, was named Visionary Leader of the Year, Elementary Level Principal; John Farinella, J.D., principal of Rahway High School, was named Visionary Leader of the Year, Secondary Level Principal; Brad Currie, vice principal in the Chester School District, was named Visionary Leader of the Year, Secondary Level Assistant Principal; and Monica Carmichael, director of Early-Childhood Programming for Trenton Public Schools, was named Visionary Leader of the Year, Supervisor/Director. Each will receive his/her award at the NJPSA Fall Conference at the Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch, NJ in October.


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 highlest 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.


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.


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.


Monica Carmichael is credited with rebuilding a broken climate and culture in the Early Childhood Department 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.


In addition to these awards, Dr. Jenkins is the New Jersey recipient of the NAESP National Distinguished Principal Award, Mr. Farinella is the New Jersey recipient of the NASSP/MetLife Principal of the Year Award, and Mr. Currie was named the National Assistant Principal of the Year by the NASSP.

NJPSA congratulates each of the 2017 Visionary Award Winners and proudly announces that they will receive $7,000 for their school, as well as a personal check for $1,000 at the NJPSA/FEA/NJASCD Fall Conference on October at the Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch, NJ.