State Board Honors NAESP and NASSP National Distinguished Principals

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On Wednesday, December 5, the New Jersey State Board of Education honored Dumar Burgess, principal of Hawthorne Elementary School in Willingboro, and Dr. Matthew Jamison, principal of Ocean City High School, with the NAESP and NASSP National Distinguished Principal Awards. NJPSA Executive Director Pat Wright introduced the winners and congratulated them on their outstanding work and their well-deserved recognition.

Among his many accomplishments, Dumar Burgess recognized the need to update the literacy program as part of an overall plan to address student learning needs. He led the transition to  the Balanced Literacy Framework as the new literacy program to improve Further, he built a strong relationship with Children’s Literacy Initiative of Philadelphia, developed the structures for teachers to collaborate. Teachers had the opportunity to  plan together, to use data to implement authentic lessons, and build collegiality, which helped improve the overall climate and culture in his school. 

Matt Jamison challenged his students to take academic risks by moving all advanced placement courses to open enrollment and now has more than 300 students taking and thriving in AP. Addresses the needs of the whole student, Dr. Jamison also created a student wellness center where students can take a time out and decompress during the day or learn about nutrition, mental health awareness, and team building.  His school is also home to a 100-percent-digital, state of the art tv and media studio and the nationally recognized American Sign Language Program.


Pat Wright was joined at the ceremony by Assistant Executive Director Denise Hecht, Director of Special projects Mary Reece, and FEA CEO Donna McInerney.