Summer 2009

GW Alumnus Named Principal of the Year

Shawn Joseph, Ed.D. ’09, was recently named the 2009 Maryland Middle Level Principal of the Year for his leadership at Roberto Clemente Middle School in Germantown, Md.

In his four years as principal of Roberto Clemente Middle School in Germantown, Md., Shawn Joseph, Ed.D. ’09, has tackled a lot of challenges. He provided internal leadership training for the teaching staff, reformed the curriculum and improved test scores in every academic category while lessening the achievement gap for ethnic and minority groups. For his hands-on leadership and dedication to his students and staff, Dr. Joseph was recently named the 2009 Maryland Middle Level Principal of the Year by the MetLife NASSP National Principal of the Year Program.

“Receiving the award was truly an honor,” says Dr. Joseph. “You’re so busy working and trying to help children that you aren’t thinking about recognition. There were also so many other deserving people.”

Nominated by his peers for his collaborative leadership and curriculum instruction, Dr. Joseph received the award this spring at a ceremony in Ocean City, Md., and will be
considered for the National Principal of the Year Award.

A self-described “jack of all trades,” Dr. Joseph says he works every day to improve students’ performance. He monitors instruction and student engagement and encourages staff to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching. Recent data show Dr. Joseph’s work is paying off: The number of eighth-grade students in algebra or
higher-level math almost doubled since 2004 and 80 percent of the student body made the honor roll during the first quarter.

“We are a large, diverse school with students from 90 different countries, and we aim for an environment in which everyone feels valued and appreciated,” he says. “Our staff works incredibly hard, so my award really recognizes their efforts as well.”

His passion for learning and teaching is also evident outside the middle school. Dr. Joseph graduated from GW in spring 2009 with a doctorate in educational administration and policy studies and now serves as an adjunct professor and internship supervisor in GW’s School of Education and Human Development. “GW is a spectacular place to learn,” he says. “My studies at GW definitely altered my understanding of education and how to approach it and have also increased my desire
and ability to inform public policy and practice in school administration.”

“I have the capability of putting a smile on students’ faces and help them learn something,” says Dr. Joseph.“Because of that, I feel like a rock star when I walk into the building.”

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