A Georgia educator has been named the 2019 National Principal of the Year.
Kerensa Wing, principal at Collins Hill High School in Gwinnett County Public Schools, was surprised with the recognition by the National Association of Secondary School Principals Monday.
In Feb. 2019, Dr. Curtis L. Jones, Jr. – the superintendent of Bibb County Schools – was named 2019 National Superintendent of the Year. With Principal Wing’s recognition today, Georgia is home to both the National Superintendent of the Year and the National Principal of the Year.
“The success of our public schools begins and ends with strong leadership,” said State School Superintendent Richard Woods, who attended the recognition to congratulate Wing. “I am grateful for the incredible work Principal Kerensa Wing has done at Collins Hill High School, and throughout her career, to create an environment where students can learn and thrive. At this moment, Georgia is home to the National Principal of the Year in Gwinnett County and the National Superintendent of the year in Bibb County – it’s a great time to be a Georgian!”
J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO and superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools, said in a release from the association:
“No matter the job, Mrs. Wing is up to the task. As superintendent, I have asked her to lead two high schools—Lanier and Collins Hill—and she has done so exceptionally well. For her, the role of principal is not just a job, it is a true calling. She is a strong instructional leader whose care and concern for her students, her staff members, and her school community is evident in all that she does.”
Wing said she believes that every student deserves a great teacher and has made a concerted effort to hire teachers who are content experts and student-focused in their approach, the organization said in its release. She believes the classroom teacher has an enormous impact on student growth and views her job of hiring, retaining, and training the best teachers as the most efficient path toward equity for students.
She implemented a professional learning community structure among her team, incorporating scheduling changes to accommodate common planning and collaboration time using research-based practices for students. As a result, student performance on state assessments rose between 3 percent and 13 percent in proficient and distinguished levels on all tests.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Oglethorpe University, a master’s degree in secondary social studies from Georgia State University, and an education specialist degree in leadership and supervision from Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. She also received a certificate from the Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard University, and is a graduate of Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Quality-Plus Leader Academy – Aspiring Principal Program.
“We are proud to honor Kerensa Wing, who has served as a model for compassionate school leadership, as the NASSP 2020 Principal of the Year,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “Kerensa has made a profound and deliberate impact on her students, teachers, and administrators by creating an environment responsive to her school and community’s specific needs, while also allowing for innovation and entrepreneurship to ensure academic success and well-being.”
Melton Callahan, executive director of the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals said:
“School administrators in Georgia are extremely proud of Kerensa Wing’s accomplishments at Collins Hill High School. The entire GASSP family in pleased in recognizing her as an outstanding school principal who personifies excellence in providing quality leadership to her school communities. She represents the qualities of a great principal and will represent GASSP and NASSP well!”