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Liberty has top principal in Georgia
Dr. Debbie Rodriguez, principal of Taylors Creek Elementary School

Dr. Debbie Rodriguez, principal of Taylors Creek Elementary School in Liberty County, has been named Georgia’s 2012 National Distinguished Principal.

The award is given by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the U.S. Department of Education.
“Dr. Rodriguez was nominated and selected by her fellow principals through a statewide search process conducted by the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals, and the Georgia Department of Education,” Hal Beaver, executive director of GAESP, said.

Rodriguez is a graduate of Georgia Southern University, receiving her BS and MED. She earned an Ed.D from the University of Sarasota. Rodriguez previously taught and was an assistant principal. She has served as principal at Taylors Creek for 15 school years.

“School principals commit their professional lives to educational excellence and their personal lives to children,” said Dr. Gail Connelly, NAESP’s executive director. “They are uniquely dedicated public servants who rarely receive the kind of public recognition they deserve.”

The distinguished principals program is made possible by corporate sponsors VALIC and Nova Southeastern University. VALIC is a financial management firm.

In October, Rodriguez will travel to Washington, D.C., for two days of activities planned to honor and recognize the educators chosen. “Criteria for selection of the principals set by NAESP and the U.S. Department of Education requires that the honorees be selected by their colleagues for achievements above and beyond those expected in a school program,” Beaver said.

In addition, each must have been a principal for five years, maintain high expectations of students and staff, show evidence of outstanding contributions to school and profession and be an established, respected member of the community.

Rodriguez has had many accomplishments, but Beaver said one that particularly stood out to the committee dealt with Taylors Creek being selected as a “model school” by the Georgia Partnership of Excellence in Education which included the school on a state bus tour. Taylors Creek has also been named as a Distinguished Title 1 School for the past nine years.

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