National Principals Month 2020

National Principals Month - 2020 #ThankAPrincipal

Resilient Leaders: the glue that keeps our schools together is YOU.


Amanda Irby - Memorial Elementary School - Desoto County

Principal Irby consistently displays the necessary leadership qualities of organization, communication, and goal setting with all stakeholders at Memorial Elementary School.  She keeps the focus on improved student achievement through positive team building.



Amy Riddle - Gulf Middle School - Pasco County

Amy is an inspiring leader that has lead her school well as they implement the IB Middle Years Program. Her ability to bring staff and students together at GMS continues to improve their school culture and their community as a whole. 


Janie Branstetter - St. Andrews School at Oakland Terrace - Bay County

Janie brings a common sense approach to some very complex situations.  As the principal of an ESE center school that focuses on behavior, she has established a safe, positive learning environment ensuring students succeed with academics and behavior.



Dr. Hector Maestre - Colonial High School - Orange County 

Dr. Hector Maestre is a visionary leader whose purpose is deeply rooted in student achievement. Through his exemplary ability to inspire others, as well as empathize with students and staff, he has created a culture of compassion and excellence that affects all stakeholders of the Colonial High School community. Dr. Maestre's unparalleled work ethic, resilience, honesty, and integrity make him an outstanding leader who has been a pillar for all those he leads.


Seth Daub - Catalina Elementary School - Orange County

Mr. Daub’s focus on data-driven instruction moved Catalina’s school grade from a D to a C. He strives to consistently and authentically engage with those he serves, including students, teachers, staff members, families and the community. Mr. Daub is the Florida Association of School Administrators’ president for the 2020-21 school year, further proving he has a servant’s mindset.




Brian Greene - Lake Weir Middle School - Marion County

Principal Brian Greene of Lake Weir Middle School in Marion County has a big heart.  So big, in fact, he received the latest “Heart Award” from the school media specialists group for his love and support for reading.  Greene, who’s been with the district for 11 years, became an assistant principal in 2013 and a principal three years later at Belleview-Santos Elementary. He led that school to such tremendous academic growth it hit the state DOE spotlight in 2018.  That’s also when he moved to Lake Weir Middle to lead that school and its academic journey to excellence.  Greene’s background includes bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida.  His second master’s in Educational Leadership comes from Saint Leo University.



Christy Gorberg - Olympia High School - Orange County

Principal Gorberg has a clear vision, she exhibits leadership qualities and is an excellent listener.  She is fair, consistent and empowers others.



Jason Joens - Fivay High School - Pasco County

Jason is a systems leader.  He has the unique ability to strike a balance between setting high expectations for students and staff while creating a safe, caring learning environment.




Scott Simpson - Treasure Coast Elementary School - Indian River County

During this complex time period, Mr. Simpson has demonstrated commitment and innovation in creating a school environment in which all students feel safe and supported, while having access to quality instruction. He has also showed creativity in his approaches to engaging students and staff in supporting health and safety in the school environment.



Nicole Bennett- James Elementary School - Hillsborough County

Mrs. Bennett’s leadership has transcended 12 years to reach the height of Transformational Leader. Her leadership career resides in Title I schools, where she has knocked down barriers to success and closed achievement gaps resulting in improved school grades and exiting turnaround status.

This school year, she has graciously taken on the challenge of our toughest school in the county, denoted as a “persistently low performing school” in partnership with an external operator. Not only did she accept this honor as recognition of her talent but she has launch the year in an unpreceded way by implementing systems for safety, creating innovative learning environments, hiring effective and highly effective teachers, and connecting with community partners for support.  In August, she coordinated a Back-to-School kick-off for teachers in partnership with WWE Wrestler, Titus O’Neil and the Bullard Family Foundation, to inspire hope for the students in the community. She recognizes the work of transformation is not the sole responsibility of the school rather a partnership with parents and community.

In just a few short months, she has aggressively created pathways for parents to feel welcome and supported. Enrollment has increased, despite COVID, as her presence is permeating the community.  Her theme for this year is FOCUS! She is definitely focused on intentional instructional practices, progress monitoring data and student relationships. We are confident that James will be successful this school year.


Thomas Ott - University High School - Orange County

Mr. Ott is a visible principal and enjoys interacting with his staff, faculty, and students in order to create a positive culture and climate for his school. He feels that through teamwork and a positive environment, University High School is a place where every student will graduate college and career ready. 

Nicolle Campbell - East River High School - Orange County 
Mrs. Campbell is an energetic, transparent, and involved leader who prides herself on acting upon her unwavering philosophy that all students deserve a high quality education and a wonderful learning experience. Mrs. Campbell is currently leading a school with a past of constant transition and uncertainty, however, in a short amount of time she has created stability and a family feel. Under her leadership she has developed a new generation of instructional leaders, created and expanded academic programs for her students, and has fostered excitement and success for co and extracurricular activities making East River a source of pride for the community.
Katie Crooke - Old Kings Elementary School - Flagler County
Situational Leadership - In the midst of this pandemic, principals are forced to make the switch from being Instructional Leaders to Logistics Managers. Within the first 10 days of schools opening, Principal Crooke’s school faced several unique cases of COVID-19. Because of the protocols implemented by Mrs. Crooke, including seating charts and cohort assignments throughout the day (i.e. lunch, transitions, car riders, etc.) the Department of Health was able to respond efficiently and seamlessly. These protocols ensure a safer learning environment, which ultimately helped to minimize the number of employees and students required to quarantine.
Lyle Heinz - Apopka High School - Orange County 
The teachers at Apopka High School appreciate the respect and professional leadership Mr. Heinz shows each day. He leads by example and puts the interest of the students first. The current situation has shown how much he cares for the safety and success of all the stakeholders at Apopka High School and for this he is respected by the students, staff, and community. 
Kim Hill - Cypress Woods Elementary School - Pinellas County
Ms. Hill prides herself in building strong relationships and trust with her staff, parents, and students. She believes in being a servant leader who always strives to advocate for what is best for students and empower her teachers to be innovative.
Gregory Bergamasco - Gamble Rogers Middle School - St. Johns County
Mr. Bergamasco is a collaborative leader who models high expectations for everyone. He is dedicated to the success of all students and has initiated several programs to intervene with students including AVID. Gamble Rogers Middle School is a leader in PLC implementation and has recently been cited as a PLC Model School. The culture of GRMS is one of cultural responsiveness for all students and staff. Mr. Bergamasco is readily available to mentor colleagues.