District Selects Principal of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year

District Selects Principal of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year
Posted on 12/10/2019
Melissa Robery and Jackson MorganThe School District of Lee County is proud to announce Melissa Robery, Principal at East Lee High School, is the Lee County Principal of the year. The District is also proud to announce Jackson Morgan, Assistant Principal at Lehigh Elementary School, is Lee County Assistant Principal of the year.

Melissa Robery was appointed Principal of East Lee County High School in January 2018. At the time East Lee was a “D” school supervised by the State Accountability System. Only 55% of the seniors were projected to graduate. Robery says she knew she needed a plan, and fast. “After reviewing all of the school data, we determined that our focus had to be on individual students. We were going to build relationships, address the needs of individual students, track student data and most importantly tell students every day that we believed in them.” Five months later, 81% of the senior class got their diplomas and the school missed a “C” grade by .03%. At the end of the 2018-2019 school year East Lee had improved enough to easily earn a “C” and be removed from state supervision. “More importantly,” Robery says, “Staff and students are excited to come to school, student attendance percentages continue to increase from the previous year’s attendance, each cycle, and the total number of discipline referrals have dropped dramatically.” Staff give Robery much of the credit for the turnaround in attitude and performance. “This may sound to be good to be true,” Assistant Principal Karen Blaze says, “But honestly, I’ve never seen anyone do the intensity and amount of work she did and continues to do, maintaining her family and giving 100% to the building every day. She’s made this a better school and has forever impacted the lives of our students and teachers.”

Jackson Morgan was appointed Assistant Principal at Lehigh Elementary in 2014 after ten years of teaching in various elementary schools. At the time, he says scores were on the decline, behavior was interfering with instruction and teachers were unhappy. “As a former special education teacher,” Morgan says, “I was particularly keen on helping my teachers become better teachers for those students. I immediately began working with these teachers and our academic coaches to support them. I focused on providing teachers with professional development in the curriculum they used and provided coaching support.” Teacher retention is now at all-time high at Lehigh Elementary, while student performance and behavior are improving. Principal Sherri Wipf says Morgan is an outstanding leader who has rejuvenated school pride at Lehigh. “His achievements are beyond measure,” she says, “His influence is beyond limits, and his impact on the students and staff of the Lehigh Elementary family make him deserving of this prestigious award.”

Nominations for Robery as Florida Principal of the Year and Morgan as Florida Assistant Principal of the Year will be sent to the Florida Department of Education by Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins. The DOE will announce the finalists in January and the winners by early March. Each award comes with a $5,000 cash prize.

The School District of Lee County has recently won both awards. Kelly Stedman was named 2017 Florida Assistant Principal of the Year. Ken Savage was named 2018 Florida Principal of the Year after leading James Stephens International Academy from an “F” grade to a “B” in just one year. Savage is now Chief of Operations for the District while Stedman is Principal at James Stephens.