Friday, April 8, 2011

Mrs Thomas Awarded Charter School Administrator of the Year!

Pride Academy principal and co-founder, Mrs Fiona Thomas,  was awarded “Charter School Administrator of the Year” at the New Jersey Charter Schools Association (NJCSA) Annual Conference in Princeton on April 8th, 2011.

The two-day conference in Princeton, attended by more than 600 hundred educators, parents and supporters of New Jersey’s growing charter school movement, spotlighted the many achievements of the state’s 73 charter schools and featured discussions among state and national leaders about how charter schools are transforming public education.

“I am honored to be able to accept this award on behalf of our whole school community, our parents and our staff,” Mrs Thomas said. “There is an urgency in what we do. We need to stop and celebrate the joy because it matters and it counts.”

Mrs Thomas was among a select group of educators to receive the Cultivating Quality Education Awards for their contributions in 2010. Mrs Thomas shared the “Administrator of the Year” award with Ms Rahshene Davis of University Heights Charter School in Newark. The awards were judged by a panel of three independent education experts.

“Fiona reflects the strong commitment, involvement and passion that makes charter schools successful,” said Carlos Perez, president and CEO of the NJCSA. “This award honors Fiona for doing her part to enhance public education and helping ensure that all public schools are quality schools.”

In presenting the award to Mrs Thomas, Ken Zimmerman, an attorney and member of the NJCSA board, stressed the importance of having a clear vision as a Charter School leader. However, he stated that Mrs Thomas' success was not only having that vision for her school but in transforming that vision into execution.

In a panel discussion following the award, Mrs Thomas was asked what aspect of founding and leading a Charter School had been the greatest surprise. She replied that it was how quickly she has been able to see transformation in students, even in the first founding year of the school. She explained that Pride Scholars respond to the peaceful and positive environment of a school community where teachers and staff  unconditionally believe in them, treat them with respect, and hold them accountable to high expectations for academic success and leadership.