Jamaican National in South Florida wins National Honors as Assistant Principal

Jamaican and Ardenne Alum Hilca Thomas 2008 National Assistant Principal of the Year

MIAMI – Hilca Thomas, the curriculum assistant principal at Howard A. Doolin Middle School in Miami was selected from three National finalists as an outstanding assistant principal for 2008 for her data-driven leadership.

Thomas has not only learned how to analyze multiple sources of data, but also taught her staff to use data to direct instruction. She established a data analysis team to dissect the results of different assessments to identify instructional weaknesses—a practice that contributed to differentiated instruction.

Hilca Thomas

Thomas manages, organizes, and facilitates resources for instruction, encouraging teachers to use best practices and creative instructional strategies to enhance their lessons. An outgoing motivator, she has encouraged students and faculty members to be lifelong learners, increasing the number of school personnel attending professional development. In 2004, Thomas authored and obtained the NASA Explore School Grant, designating Doolin as a NASA Explorer School. The grant will improve the quality of science and mathematics instruction by giving teachers the opportunity to be trained by NASA experts.

Described by one of her peers as, “a woman with vision,” Thomas empowers the faculty to develop their own leadership roles as department heads and team leaders with an uncanny ability to provide direction and focus on school goals. In a letter to NASSP, Janet Hupp, Region 5 Superintendent of Miami Dade County Public Schools, noted that one of Thomas’ “most outstanding capabilities is her ability to interact and motivate all stake holders.”

Thomas, a past student of Ardenne High School in Jamaica, received a B.S. in Zoology from the University of West Indies in Kingston and her M.S. in Biology Education from the University of Miami. She taught Biology and Science at the middle and high school level for twelve years before transitioning to her position in administration at Howard A Doolin Middle School, where she has been for eight years. Thomas was the 2006-2007 Regional Center V Assistant Principal of the Year, and the runner-up as the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Assistant Principal of the Year that same year. In 2007, she was named the Florida Outstanding Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year.

As the National Assistant Principal of the Year, Thomas will receive a $5,000 award to be used to improve learning at her school. She will also be honored along at a a black-tie dinner during a two-day recognition program April 18–19, 2008, in Washington, DC, where all state honorees will participate in professional development and networking activities with their peers.

With support from Virco Inc., NASSP brought this year’s three finalists to the 2008 NASSP Convention in San Antonio, TX. Find more information on the Assistant Principal of the Year Award.

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