This week, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran named Jennifer Pryor Halter, Principal of Green Cove Springs Junior High School in Clay County, as the 2021 Principal of the Year, and Zemenaye Belda Harris, Assistant Principal of Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Hillsborough County, as the 2021 Florida Assistant Principal of the Year.
Jennifer Pryor Halter has served as the Principal at Green Cove Springs Junior High School for six years. During this time, the school has maintained an A rating for their school grade. Ms. Halter sets high expectations for all of the students at the school. She initiated Cougar Nation, a school-wide mathematics program to provide targeted support to students. She also created academic acceleration opportunities for all students with the establishment of Pre-AICE courses. Through her leadership, Green Cove Springs Junior High School received the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support Gold School Award in 2020.
“Congratulations to Jennifer Pryor Halter on being named Florida’s 2021 Principal of the Year,” said Commissioner Corcoran. “Her commitment to ensuring students are provided with a high quality education is critical to their success and it is clear that Ms. Halter is fully invested in her students’ wellbeing and future.”
Clay County District Schools Superintendent David Broskie said, “Ms. Halter embodies everything that a great leader is and does through her work.”
Congratulations to the two additional individuals, listed below, recognized as 2021 Principal of the Year state finalists:
- William P. Roberts, Windy Hill Middle School, Lake County
- Rafael A. Villalobos, John A. Ferguson Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Zemenaye Harris has dedicated her thirteen years in education to helping all students achieve success, which led her to Booker T. Washington Elementary School. As the school’s Assistant Principal, she helped improve the school grade from an F in 2017 to a C in 2018. Ms. Harris instituted weekly professional development sessions with teachers focused on data-driven planning as well as climate surveys and conflict resolution to increase the school’s culture. She established a Parent Teacher Association for the first time in five years, resulting in 90 percent of families becoming involved in school activities.
“Congratulations to Zemenaye Harris on earning this prestigious award,” said Commissioner Corcoran. “Florida is fortunate to have leaders like Ms. Harris in our schools and I applaud her unwavering commitment to her students’ educational journey and their continued success.”
Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis stated, “Zemenaye Harris is the model of excellence in the role of an Assistant Principal. She grasps the essential need for a simultaneous, relentless focus on academic achievement, a positive culture, and equity for all students and stakeholders.”
Congratulations also to the two additional individuals, listed below, recognized as 2021 Assistant Principal of the Year state finalists:
- Sean David Curran, Fort Lauderdale High School, Broward County
- Sheila Waid, Annie Lucy Williams Elementary School, Manatee County
The 2021 Principal of the Year receives a cash prize of $3,500. The two state finalists were each awarded a check for $1,000 and every district winner was awarded a check for $270.
The 2021 Assistant Principal of the Year receives a cash prize of $2,500. The two state finalists were each awarded a check for $725 and every district winner was awarded a check for $210.
For more information about Florida’s educator recognition programs, visit http://www.fldoe.org/teaching/recognition.
For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit www.fldoe.org.