Principal of the Year
The Dallas Independent School District winners for the 2018 Principal of the Year award were announced on December 13, 2018. This years winners were announced during a special ceremony and luncheon held at the Dallas Arboretum. Thompson & Horton, LLP, was the presenting sponsor for the 2018 Principal of the Year Luncheon and AXA, Advisors, LLC, was a supporting sponsor.
Secondary Winner: Dwain Simmons, L.G. Pinkston High School
Simmons, principal for seven years, has led the school to achieve first-time accomplishments. In 2018, Pinkston High School earned the highest rating in its history and earned two state distinctions. The school that a decade before had a graduation rate of less than 50 percent now has a graduation rate above 90 percent.
Under his leadership, the school has also established a Health Science & Technology Early College High School.
Simmons was a pre-med/pre-dentistry major in college, but through his fraternity had a chance to mentor students at L.V. Stockard Middle School.
“And the principal there said, ‘Wow, you’re really great with kids. You ought to think about going into education,’” Simmons said. “And I went into education and didn’t look back.”
When he was assigned to lead Pinkston, he remembered receiving a phone call that told him not to go, that it would be “career suicide” because of others who had tried and failed there.
“All kids truly deserve a champion,” he said. “And well, it’s five years later, and I think my career is thriving.”
Elementary Winner: Damien Stovall, Edward Titche Elementary School
When Stovall arrived to Titche, the school was on the verge of closure due to years of not meeting state standards. Stovall’s dedication and leadership took the campus from being an “F” rated school to a “B” campus in one year, as well as obtaining all six state distinctions.
Stovall said he almost didn’t apply to be a Principal of the Year. However, what students and teachers had gone through to find success inspired him to try to have their stories be heard.
“Titche is proof that kids will rise to your expectations,” he said. “And they will respect you when respect is given to them.”
He said anything is possible when there is the vision, goals and plan to get the job done.
“On our worst day, we are the best hope for many of our scholars,” he said. “It’s hard to talk about me, but I could talk about our kids all day.”
Elementary finalists are:
• Dr. Nancy Bernardino, Solar Preparatory for Girls
• Chase McLaurin, Walnut Hill Elementary School
• Israel Rivera, Jose “Joe” May Elementary School
• Damien Stovall, Edward Titche Elementary School
Secondary finalists are:
• Dr. Janice Lombardi, Skyline High School
• Lasandra Sanders, School of Health Professions at Townview Center
• Dwain Simmons, L.G. Pinkston High School
• Arnoldo Zuniga, Dallas Environmental Science Academy