Pictured from Left to right Massie Ritsch, U.S. Department of Education; Judith Richardson, National Association of Secondary School Principals; Naomi Drouillard;
Michael Schooley, National Association of Elementary School Principals; Edward Vittardi, National Middle Schools Association.
RICHMOND HILL, NY - In honor of her exceptional work as a principal, Naomi Drouillard has received the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership at the 2010 Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. Principals nominated for the Terrel Bell Award are school leaders committed to fostering successful teaching and learning. They help their students meet high standards and have demonstrated that when it comes to educating America’s children, failure is not an option.
“Naomi Drouillard is an inspiration to her students and teachers,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “She has brought together the community to turn Rosa Parks School into a place that nurtures students and encourages them to believe in themselves. Naomi truly cares for these kids, and her enthusiasm is contagious.”
Naomi embraced an interesting challenge when she assumed the role of principal at the newly established Rosa Parks P.S. 254. Leading a school centered in a diverse neighborhood, Naomi had to bring together a skillful teaching staff as well as a community with many cultures and languages. Through her ability to motivate others and her effectiveness in communicating a shared vision, the Rosa Parks School became a nurturing, flourishing center of learning with an emphasis on collaboration and parental involvement.
Naomi strives to promote collaboration among the school’s staff through conferences, meetings and professional development. Her open door policy creates a comfortable environment for staff to share ideas. Naomi has arranged teachers’ schedules to provide for common planning time, student-focused discussions and setting common goals. As a result, teachers are empowered to innovate and create. Study groups meet regularly to discuss research and to share and refine best teaching practices. Additionally, the staff meets to evaluate and discuss student work, assessment results and progress.
To accommodate a large and diverse population of English Language Learners, Naomi developed innovative means to address their needs. She implemented daily Academic Intervention Services to provide small group instruction and provided workshops for parents, including English language instruction.
Engaging parents is one of Naomi’s priorities because she believes that parental involvement is critical to student success. Naomi strives to make parents active participants in their child’s education, and in doing so has created trust between parents and school staff. Through Read Aloud Day, family literacy events, Saturday Science and parent appreciation events, Naomi has created a highly participative community. Parent needs are identified through surveys, as well as informal means of communication, and the parent coordinator plays a pivotal role in the school community. Translators are provided as needed, especially for parent-teacher conferences and parent association meetings.
Naomi’s passion for her school and students is evident across all she does. Parents and staff describe her as an inspirational leader and a dynamic force within the school, someone who motivates everyone else to strive for excellence. This is why the Rosa Parks School, with over 90 percent of its students eligible for free and reduced price lunch, boasts that 100 percent of students score proficient or advanced on state assessments.
Ms. Naomi Drouillard is an outstanding school leader who inspires, guides and sustains others; she is a leader willing to do whatever it takes to meet students’ needs. She shows that with effective leadership and teaching, and a conviction that all students can learn, schools can become powerful, joyful places that generate energy in their communities.
The Bell award is given by the U. S. Department of Education, together with the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Middle Schools Association and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The award recognizes outstanding school leaders and the vital role they play in overcoming challenging circumstances. Principals are nominated by their school communities during the final stages of the Blue Ribbon Schools application process. Terrel H. Bell was the secretary of education under President Reagan.