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Eustis Heights principal and assistant principal are finalists for state's top leadership awards


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EUSTIS Eustis Heights Elementary School Principal Rhonda Hunt is a finalist for Florida’s 2016 Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership (Principal of the Year), and Assistant Principal Chad Frazier, also of Eustis Heights, is a finalist for Florida’s 2016 Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award (Assistant Principal of the Year).


“Principals and assistant principals set the tone for their schools and I am pleased to acknowledge these finalists who embody qualities that inspire educators and students to work hard and do their best,’’ said state Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart, who announced the finalists today. “Our school leaders deserve to be recognized for their commitment to Florida’s students, and I look forward to announcing the winners at the Commissioner’s Summit for Principals.”


Rhonda Hunt has been a principal for 10 years, during which time she has been involved in a new school opening, establishing parent-teacher organizations, building mentoring programs and drafting grant applications that have benefited her students. She is described as an exemplary instructional leader and has been commended for empowering her teachers to be leaders. Under her leadership, Eustis Heights has improved its school grade from an F to a C (based on 2014-15 simulated school grades).


The other finalists in the Principal category are Tamie Stewart of Parkside Elementary in Collier County and Steven Royce of Tara Elementary in Manatee County.


Chad Frazier’s colleagues expressed an appreciation for his passion for learning and willingness to take on challenges toward an identified goal, as well as his dedication to creating innovative solutions. In just one year, he has already made an impact on Eustis Heights. With the support of his principal and through collaboration with school faculty, Frazier was able to reduce truancy by 50 percent during the 2014-15 school year.


The other finalists in the Assistant Principal category are Anne Bieber of Vero Beach High School in Indian River County and Kahlil Ortiz of Dommerich Elementary School in Orange County.


The state’s top administrators will be named in a ceremony at the Commissioner’s Summit for Principals on Feb. 8. The recipient of the 2016 Principal of the Year award will receive a cash prize of $5,000 and $1,000 for his or her school. The 2016 Assistant Principal of the Year will receive a cash prize of $2,500 and $500 for the school.