Dr. Tammy Bowling Jenkins, principal of Sunnymead Elementary School in Hillsborough, NJ, was named the 2017 Visionary Principal of the Year (Elementary Level) by the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) as well as being selected for the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) National Distinguished Principal of the Year.
Each year the NJPSA recognizes leadership excellence with its prestigious Visionary Leadership Awards. A review committee meets and evaluates each nominated principal based on a rubric that takes into consideration applicant’s transformation achievements at his/her school as well as each individual’s dedication to students and staff, and the principal’s well established ties to the school community. Once selected, a school site visit is also conducted by the committee chair. The NJPSA award recipient (when eligible) becomes the New Jersey nominee for the National Distinguished Principal of the Year given by the NAESP.
"A true leader coaches instead of demands from her staff,” stated Michele K. Jones, second grade teacher at Sunnymead Elementary School and also the staff member who nominated Jenkins for this honor. “Dr. Jenkins helps develop the strengths from all of her staff while helping improve their weakness."
Sunnymead Elementary School is home to over 425 students in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. Dr. Jenkins has been at Sunnymead for 13 years and leads both students and staff with a clear vision that all students will succeed while at Sunnymead at high levels. Out of the nine schools in the Hillsborough District, Sunnymead has the highest percentage of students living at or near the poverty level. Despite this challenge, Sunnymead’s students typically perform at the highlest levels in the district due to Dr. Jenkins’ leadership and the climate and culture she has built with her faculty and staff. In addition, through creative scheduling and staffing, Dr. Jenkins has created an opportunity for students to receive timely, targeted intervention and/or enrichment every day without disrupting or impacting core subjects.
“What I need!” is a chant you will hear often by students at Sunnymead School. WIN (What I Need) is an initiative put in place about six years ago. W.I.N.is an “all hands on deck” approach to intervention and enhancement. This model ensures that every student in the school gets specific, small group instruction based on what an individual student needs, whether it be writing, reading, or math skills. Each Sunnymead teacher leads a small group of students as they work on the skills they need to improve. Students who have met their current personal goals are provided opportunities to engage in learning experiences that enhance or extend their learning.