NJPSA Congratulates the recipients of its 2017-2018 Visionary Leadership Awards

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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 will receive his/her award at the NJPSA/FEA/NJASCD Fall Conference at the Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch, NJ in October.


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.


Dr. Matthew Jamison implemented Professional Learning Communities in 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.


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.


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.


In addition to these awards, Mr. Burgess is the New Jersey recipient of the NAESP National Distinguished Principal Award, and Dr. Jamison is the New Jersey recipient of the NASSP Principal of the Year Award.


NJPSA congratulates each of the 2017-2018 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.