Johnson a finalist for Florida principal of the year


Dr. Earl Johnson, principal of Matanzas High School in Flagler County, has been named a finalist for the Florida Department of Education’s principal of the year.

Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart announced the finalists last week for the outstanding principal and assistant principal of the year.

“I am pleased to recognize these six finalists for their tremendous dedication to the schools and communities they serve,” said Stewart.

“Principals and assistant principals create an environment for success in their schools, and I am grateful to each of these individuals for their service to Florida’s students.’’

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 21.

Nominated by superintendent
In a press release, the following was stated about Johnson:

“Johnson has consistently sought innovative strategies to help his students reach their full potential. He initiated a partnership with Bethune-Cookman University to offer dual enrollment courses, which has provided students with the opportunity to take accelerated courses while in high school.

“During his first year as the school’s principal, he increased the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses, expanded Career and Technical Education offerings and created an academic pathway to meet students’ needs. His colleagues commended him for being self-motivated, driven and dedicated to his profession.’’

Candidates for the awards were nominated by the superintendent from their respective school districts.

Flagler County Public Schools Superintendent Jacob Oliva stated in a press release issued by the school district, “Dr. Johnson has accomplished so much within Flagler Schools since he first stepped foot on the Matanzas High School campus. His selection is confirmation of something we’ve known all along; he is one of the top educational leaders in the state.”

Humbled by honor
“I am humbled by this honor. While this selection is given to an individual principal, I am successful because of the wonderful team of teachers and administrators we have at Matanzas,’’ Johnson stated.

Johnson’s competitors for the award are Dr. Kevin Hendrick, principal of Northeast High School in Pinellas County, and Dr. Rachel Shelley, principal of Booker High School in Sarasota County.

The three finalists for assistant principal of the year are Dr. Jacqueline Smith, Hollywood Hills High School, Broward County; Marlene Staughan, Mount Dora High School, Lake County; and Kelly Stedman, James Stephens International Academy, Lee County.

26 years in Volusia
Johnson has been principal at Matanzas High School since 2015. Prior to going to Flagler County, he spent 26 years with Volusia County Schools.

He began his career in education as a mathematics teacher and quickly rose up the ranks, spending 22 years in school administration.

The award recognizes exceptional contributions of the principals to their schools and communities.



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