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Two COE Alumni Named Georgia’s 2013 National Distinguished Principals

Two COE doctoral alumni have been named Georgia’s 2013 National Distinguished Principal through the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). This year’s Georgia winners are Jesse Davis, principal of Feagin Mill Middle School in Houston County and Amy Duke, principal of Springdale Elementary School in Bibb County.

The program, begun in 1984, was established to recognized and celebrate elementary and middle-level principals “who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for the students, families and staffs in their learning communities” according to NAESP. They will be honored in late October in Washington, DC, as part of National Principals Month. The award-winning principals will also have an opportunity to share best practices during the event. NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly said of the honorees, “only a principal can move a school from good to great, simultaneously championing children and uplifting the communities they serve.”

Jesse Davis received his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in 2006 from the College of Education. Davis served as assistant principal of Feagin Mill Middle for three years before being named principal. He also served as an athletics coach and special education teacher at the school. Davis promotes shared leadership as his management style.  During his tenure as principal, Feagin Mill has had the most Master Teacher inductees for any school in the state. The school also received the Bronze Award in 2010 for excellence in student achievement.

Duke received her Ed.D. in Curriculum Studies in 2007 from the College of Education. Prior to joining Springdale, she was a teacher in Houston County. She also served as assistant principal at Springdale Elementary before being appointed principal, a position she has held for seven years.

Some of Duke’s accomplishments include receiving the Bronze Award three times for student achievement, and receiving both the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals’ School Bell Award and Patron Award. She also was asked to serve on the Governor’s Principal Advisory Committee and is a participant in the National Principals Mentoring Certification Program.

She is a native of Dublin where she will be principal at Northwest Laurens Elementary School in Dudley next year.

Criteria for selection of the principals is set by NAESP and the U.S. Department of Education and requires that the honorees be selected by their colleagues for achievements above and beyond those expected in a school program.




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