While great teachers may get well-deserved credit for helping students reach their academic potential, principals are often the unsung heroes of education, working behind the scenes to set ambitious goals and doing everything they can to help their teachers and students achieve those goals.
Tennessee Commissioner of Education Tim Webb presented the ECF award to Barfield Elementary School Principal Judy Goodwin and her granddaughter Olivia Pate. Olivia is also Barfield Elementary School student. Photo submitted.
With this in mind, the Education Consumers Foundation recognized the achievements of 18 of the most effective principals from across the state through its annual Value-Added Achievement Awards, including Rutherford County’s Barfield Elementary.
Barfield Principal Judy Goodwin was honored for maintaining a positive school environment for students, staff, parents, and community, the cornerstone of Barfield Elementary School’s success.
“It is our belief that if we hold our students to high standards, we must be the role models for high achievement through focus, integrity, hard work, and learners, as well,” she said.
Goodwin and the other school leaders are considered “the best of the best” when it comes to advancing their students academically, as measured by Tennessee’s Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). Superior school-wide performance reflects superior teaching, teamwork, and leadership. TVAAS measures achievement gain in a way that permits schools to be compared regardless of the makeup of the student body. Schools whose students make the greatest annual gains in achievement earn the highest value-added scores.
“These principals have created a culture of performance within their schools,” said ECF President J. E. Stone. “If every school was like those of our 18 winners, Tennessee would have the best education system in the country.”
Tennessee’s Education Commissioner, Tim Webb represented Gov. Phil Bredesen and participated in the presentations this year.
"It’s a distinct pleasure to honor the educators and schools that are doing such an excellent job of advancing the knowledge and skills of their students,” Webb said. "Tennessee was the first state to have an assessment system that permits educators to gain an accurate picture of how their efforts are impacting students, and I’m happy to be able to recognize principals whose superior work is reflected in their TVAAS results.”
In all, 18 winners were selected from among Tennessee’s more than 1,300 public elementary and middle schools. Based on three-year value-added gains in Reading/Language Arts and Math, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards are given in two categories, Elementary and Middle schools, in each of Tennessee’s three regions: East, Middle, and West.
Because the awards recognize high quality leadership, only schools where the principal has served for at least five years were considered.
“The fact that seven of these principals are repeat winners shows that superior performance is sustainable: it’s a matter of expectations, leadership, and the way that they go about their business day in and day out,” Stone said. “The principals we recognize today have demonstrated what is possible regardless of the wealth or poverty of the student body. With TVAAS, people are able to see exactly what each school contributes to the success of its students, not just the test score averages that are so heavily influenced by demographic and socioeconomic differences.”
Additional information about the winners, including school performance charts, is available at www.education-consumers.org. Also posted there are “Recipes for Success” from each of the 18 principals and thoughts on what they have done as leaders to help their schools achieve.
The winning principals each received a certificate, a banner and a cash award: $3,000 for 1st place, $2,000 for 2nd place, and $1,000 for 3rd place.