COLLEGE PARK, MD (April, 2011) – College of Education alumna and Dodge Park Elementary School principal Dr. Judith White (MA '94) will receive The Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award during a ceremony and reception at The Washington Post on April 28 at 5 p.m.
White was nominated by her school community and selected by a committee of her peers in Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) as the school system’s nominee for this annual award.
"Dr. White is an outstanding principal, and we are proud to add this to her list of achievements," said Dr. William R. Hite, Jr., Superintendent of Schools. "Strong leadership in schools is critical to ensuring all students have effective teachers in the classroom and all students graduate with the skills they need to be successful, productive citizens."
Dr. White was born and raised in Prince George's County and is a graduate of the school system. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Salisbury State University, a Masters of Arts in Education from the University of Maryland, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Bowie State University. She began her 14–year career as a high school special education teacher at Frederick Douglass High School, and after taking part in the PGCPS Pre-Leadership Program and Aspiring Principals Academy, went on to serve as assistant principal at Cooper Lane Elementary School, and was appointed principal of Dodge Park in 2004.
When she first arrived at Dodge Park, a Title 1 school, Dr. White as faced with many challenges. With a large population of students living in poverty and students who are English language learners, less than 20 percent were identified as proficient on the Maryland School Assessments (MSA). Over her six-year tenure, student achievement has steadily grown – now more than 80 percent of her students are performing at proficient or advanced levels.
"Under her leadership, Dodge Park has moved from one of our lowest performing schools to our highest, gaining an astonishing 60 percentage points in student achievement in both reading and math," said Andrew Zuckerman, Area 2 Assistant Superintendent and White's supervisor. "She inspires teachers, students, and parents to be the very best they can be, and her school community supports her vision for success."
Dr. White uses creative and innovative methods to inspire students and staff, including using cutting–edge technology, hosting weekly cross grade–level planning sessions, scheduling learning walks to observe and share instructional strategies, and providing staff with the latest information in the field of education.
Dedicated to her school community, Dr. White increases parent involvement through frequent communication provided in both English and Spanish, invites parents to visit classrooms and participate in special events, and encourages teachers to make weekly direct communications with parents a high priority.
"Dr. White exemplifies the qualities of a phenomenal principal, and possesses personal integrity and an intuitive leadership style," states a colleague in her letter recommending Dr. White for the award. "I am a fervent admirer of her giving spirit, creative talents, and extraordinary leadership ability. The enthusiasm she portrays as principal inspires her staff and students to someday be great leaders."
The Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Awards seek to recognize those principals who go beyond the day–to–day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment.
From Prince George’s County Public Schools Press Release dated April 7, 2011.