JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Florida TaxWatch Center for Educational Performance and Accountability and the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University announced the top six performing principals in Florida's high-risk public schools.

The list includes a Duval County principal. Recognition is based on analysis of student achievement gains in reading and mathematics in high-risk schools.

The honorees are:

  • Deborah Crotty (pictured, right), Rutledge H. Pearson Elementary School - Duval;
  • Susan Cavinee, Mill Creek Elementary School - Osceola;
  • Kelli Hunter-Sheppard, Leisure City K-8 Center - Miami-Dade;
  • Sheila Windom, Memorial Middle School - Orange;
  • Cassandra Robinson, Dillard High School - Broward; and
  • Benny Valdes, Miami Senior High School - Miami-Diade.


"Great leadership is the cornerstone of a successful school," said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. "I applaud the bold action each of them has taken to ensure their students have the best chance for success in college, career and life."

The Principal Leadership Awards program is part of the Florida TaxWatch and Learning Systems Institute Principal Leadership Initiative. The goal is to improve student achievement in high-risk schools and close the achievement gap by studying the identified principals and changing state policies to reflect their successful practices.

"These six principals are breaking down barriers to achievement for high-risk students by creating the best learning environment for their success," said Robert Weissert, chief research officer for Florida TaxWatch. "By applying the characteristics that help these principals foster student achievement to all principals in all schools, Florida can ensure every student can be successful in the classroom, regardless of race, class, ZIP code or school zone."