Florida’s Jayne Ellspermann Named National Principal of the Year Marion County Principal Praised for Fostering Culture of Achievement
October 07, 2014 MARION COUNTY
Ocala, FL — Jayne Ellspermann of West Port High School in Ocala, FL, has been named the 2015 National Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The award was announced today at a surprise assembly at the school attended by Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart, elected state and local officials, students, teachers, and Ellspermann’s own family. The announcement came as part of NASSP’s celebration of National Principals Month.
During her 10 years as West Port principal, Ellspermann has developed a college-going culture personalized for students. At West Port, lunchtime is often “PowerHour,” a student-empowerment initiative Ellspermann launched giving students autonomy over an hour of their school day for academic enrichment, open labs, clubs, and other creative opportunities. Three years of PowerHour has produced a more personalized and successful school environment: course failure has nearly disappeared, the graduation rate has jumped 15 points, and participation in activities has increased seven-fold to nearly 70%. As well, West Port is an “A” school and boasts the highest test scores in the district. West Port students can also graduate with an associate’s degree before graduating from high school thanks to an on-campus college program Ellspermann also spearheaded.
A former law enforcement officer, Ellspermann joined Marion County Public Schools 34 years ago as a high school social studies teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from the University of Florida.
“Jayne Ellspermann believes in students and pushes them to succeed by convincing them the future is theirs to control,” said Superintendent George Tomyn of Marion County Public Schools. ‘Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours’ is the standard mantra at WPHS,” he added. “Ellspermann supports this student-focused theme by developing and leading dedicated teachers who deliver outstanding instruction and guidance to West Port students.”
"Jayne Ellspermann simply sees no limit to her students’ potential nor to the school’s potential to help them fulfill it," said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. "Her passion and focus on personalization, academic rigor, and collaborative leadership -- hallmarks of NASSP's Breaking Ranks framework for school improvement -- keep her moving ever forward to find creative ways to ensure each student in her school is known and well served."
The search for this year’s national principal of the year started in early 2014 as each state principals association selected its state middle level and high school principals of the year. From this pool of state winners, a panel of judges selected three middle level and three high school finalists. A separate panel then interviewed and rigorously reviewed the finalists’ applications to select the national winner. Each finalist received a $1,500 grant, and the national winner will receive an additional grant of $3,000. The grants will be used to improve learning at the school.
For more information about the Principal of the Year program, please visit www.nassp.org/poy.
CONGRATULATIONS TO Lake Weir
Graphic Arts students who recently traveled to Orlando to battle it out in the Specialty and Graphic Imaging Association’s annual competition. They walked away with five honors including an Award of Excellence and four Certificates of Merit. Wining students included Courtney Dupree, McKenzie Johnson, Saylor Deas, Travis Mauldin, and Mallory Proue-Yarbrough. Graphic Arts Teacher Tom Natalino accompanied the students on their award-winning journey.
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