District Names its Principals of the Year at Awards Event: 85 Years Total Educational Experience Between the Three
- May 6, 2011
Wilkinson, Jackson and Lewis
About 85 years of educational experience was represented by the East Baton Rouge Parish School System’s three 2010-2011 Principals of the Year Thursday afternoon, May 5. The three awards (one at each level) went to the best and brightest of the district’s principals: Brenda B. Wilkinson of Winbourne Elementary School, Viola T. Jackson of Capitol Middle School and Linda W. Lewis of Istrouma High School. Here are their profiles:
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Brenda B. Wilkinson, principal of Winbourne Elementary School for the past three years, has 37 years experience in the field of education. Previously, she has supported children and their learning success by serving as a teacher for 24 years – which she says she is always first, an assistant principal at both Jefferson Terrace and Northwestern elementary schools and then principal of Crestworth Elementary School for seven years before coming to Winbourne Elementary.
While at Crestworth Elementary, Wilkinson and her team were successful in moving the school from a site in corrective action to a “Two Star School.” Under her leadership, Crestworth Elementary’s test performance grew almost 20 points. During her final year at Crestworth Elementary, she was presented with the Educator of the Year Award from the Early Risers Kiwanis Club.
When called upon by the district to serve as the leader in an Academically Unacceptable School eligible for state takeover, Wilkinson willingly accepted the challenge. She also enrolled in the University of Virginia School Turnaround Program and received the credentials as a Turnaround Specialist.
Within two years time, Wilkinson and her staff took Winbourne Elementary off of the academically unacceptable list and demonstrated a growth of more than 11 points. Last summer, she received the Recovery School District’s You Open Minds Award for exemplary leadership. Under her leadership, the school’s motto now is “Soaring to Success, Becoming the Best of the Best.”
When not at school, Wilkinson is active in Delta Sigma Theta, the Early Risers Kiwanis Club and Ebenezer Baptist Church. She also maintains memberships in the Louisiana Association of Principals, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and Phi Delta Kappa. Wilkinson is married to Charles Wilkinson and has one daughter, Lauren Wilkinson, who currently attends Southern University.
“Every day I wake up excited about being able to give each child the opportunity to experience success,” Wilkinson said. “I have a true love for children and want every child to succeed. I am passionate about children reaching their fullest potential as learners. I want what is best for every child as if he or she is my own, because I know the world is filled with opportunities, challenges and rewards. I believe every child can and will achieve his or her goal of becoming a productive citizen.”
MIDDLE SCHOOL Since June 2009, Viola T. Jackson has served as principal of Capitol Middle School. Her first university degree was in Marketing, but soon after graduation she became certified in Elementary Education. In 1993, she began her teaching career in Greensburg, La., and moved to the East Baton Rouge Parish School System in 1994. As a teacher, Jackson has served at Jefferson Terrace Elementary, Kenilworth Middle and North Highlands Elementary schools. Her administrative career began at Kenilworth Middle School as assistant principal and eventually led to the position of principal there.
Currently, Jackson is pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at North Central University. She holds a Master’s of Education in Administration and Supervision, certification in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from Southern University and A & M College.
During her career, Jackson has performed double duty by serving in the Army Reserves stationed out of Shreveport. She retired from the Reserves with the rank of 1st sergeant after 23 years of service. In addition, she is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (Phi Sigma Omega) and has resided in Baton Rouge with her husband, Larry Jackson, for 24 years. They have two sons and a daughter.
“My lifelong passion is to continue passing on the legacy of the educators who have taught me and encouraged me to be a lifelong learner” Jackson said. “The education of the whole child should be our guiding principle as we formulate plans for the future of education.”
HIGH SCHOOL Linda W. Lewis, principal of Istrouma High School, has been an educator for 30 years in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. She has extensive experience increasing student achievement and outcomes in under-performing schools. As part of those efforts, she accepts related challenges with enthusiasm because of her strong conviction to raise the bar for every student. Her greatest attributions in regards to education are in the areas of leadership development, curriculum and instruction, student relations and development and community relations.
Lewis is a graduate of Southern University and A&M College and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Welfare and certification in Social Studies, English and Gifted Education. In addition, she holds a master’s degree-plus 30 in Supervision and Administration from Southern University. Lewis has served the district as a middle and high school teacher, an assistant principal at Belaire High School and Zachary High School and principal at Capitol High before becoming principal of Istrouma High School.
Married 38 years, Lewis and her husband have two sons, Ron (a middle school Math teacher) and Brad (a computer developer). Her two granddaughters, Alysha (8) and Teri (13), are the center of her life. In her spare time she enjoys reading and is an avid bowler. She has been in the same bowling league for 35 years.
She lives her life to the fullest always keeping God first and foremost in her life.
“As an administrator and a teacher, I believe it is my professional obligation to equip students for success in life,” Lewis said. “We must do this by raising the bar for every student, every chance and every day."
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
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