St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Letter to the editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

Serious honor, plus perks

Mount Vernon's principal won the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award.

By LIBBY NELSON, Times Staff Writer
Published November 21, 2007


Principal Peggy Pearson is cheered by students and teachers as she arrives at Mount Vernon Elementary School in St. Petersburg in a limousine. Pearson had just won the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award, which comes with a $10,000 check.
photo
[MARTHA RIAL | Times]
ADVERTISEMENT

ST. PETERSBURG 

Recently, Mount Vernon Elementary School principal Peggy Pearson has had perks that don't usually come with the job.

A limousine ride to school, for example. A video of Mount Vernon's 430 students congratulating her. And a $10,000 check.

Pearson won the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award from the Council for Educational Change, a Florida think tank dedicated to improving education.

Pearson was an assistant principal when Mount Vernon received its first "A" after being a "D" school for three years. Since she became principal in 2004, the school has continued to receive A grades.

The award, named after the council's founder, honors school leaders who have participated in the council's educational programs and have contributed to the success of their schools.

Good leadership from principals is key to a school's success, said Elaine Liftin, president and executive director of the Council for Educational Change.

"A principal with a can-do attitude could build a vision and marshal the troops and get everybody engaged in positive behaviors in the school," Liftin said.

Pearson has faced challenges in improving Mount Vernon's academic performance. The school has 73 percent of its students eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches and a challenging population of special needs students, Liftin said.

The award also honors Pearson's work in staff development - she has had no teacher turnover in two years - and partnerships with the business community, including a mentoring program with Raymond James Financial.

Strong leadership, staff development and partnerships with the community are the categories evaluated for the award.

"She's a wonderful, wonderful recipient," Liftin said.

The award came with perks for Pearson, including a limousine ride to school arranged by an assistant principal and a congratulatory video that the Council for Educational Change recorded at Mount Vernon.

The $10,000 is for Pearson's personal use, whether she wants to spend it on herself or invest it in the school.

"There are no strings attached," Liftin said. "The idea is to really say to somebody who has gone above and beyond expectations, 'Congratulations, you deserve it.'"

Libby Nelson can be reached at 727 893-8779 or lnelson@sptimes.com

[Last modified November 20, 2007, 20:36:03]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT