PhD in Leadership and Change student and immediate past principal of Columbia Elementary School in Brevard County, Florida, Rachel Roberts, has been honored for her transformational leadership. She was a recipient of the Florida TaxWatch 2021-22 Principal Leadership Awards (PLA). This prestigious award recognizes educational leaders who are creating impactful change in their students’ lives and who promote effective practices amongst peers in the field.
Through the program, Roberts – who now serves as Director of Elementary Leading and Learning with Brevard Public Schools – has also identified one deserving student to receive a full two-year Florida College Scholarship. The award and scholarship were presented to Roberts and the student at a ceremony on the Columbia Elementary School campus on March 23, 2022.
Established by Florida TaxWatch (FTW) in 2013, the Principal Leadership Awards (PLA) program serves to acknowledge and reward educational leaders who are creating meaningful change in their students’ lives, while also promoting their uniquely effective practices among their peers. This program, which is the only one of its kind nationwide, recognizes nine of Florida’s most successful principals from high-risk K-12 public schools across the state (three principals each from elementary, middle, and high schools, including traditional and charter public schools). Principals are selected based on weighted Department of Education data, not through nominations.
Additionally, FTW is partnering with the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and private corporate sponsors to provide one student from each winner’s school with a two-year Florida College Plan Scholarship. The winning students are selected by their principal and must meet several criteria that would traditionally make attending college, let alone paying for it, a significant challenge. Through these scholarships, this transformational program is able to change deserving students’ lives and help close the achievement gap.