Assistant Principal of the Year Nominees Named

First-ever Assistant Principal of the Year Nominees Named
Posted on 12/11/2020
Assistant Principal of the Year Nominees Named

As part of the School District’s Celebrate the Great program, a recognition of the District’s top leaders, assistant principals are being honored in an AP of the Year recognition. The four finalists represent each of the four District regions:

Justin Arnone, Palm Beach Central High School – Central Region Finalist

Altoria Henley, K.E. Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary School – Glades Region Finalist

Jeannie Placil, Banyan Creek Elementary School – South Region Finalist

Andrea Walker, Lincoln Elementary School – North Region Finalist

Justin Arnone has been an Assistant Principal at Palm Beach Central High since 2017. He also serves as the Student Activities Administrator and Graduation Coordinator, English Language Arts (ELA) Department Administrator, as well as the administrator for Performing & Fine Arts, Testing, Cambridge/AICE, and Educational Technology.

In a previous role as the Science Department Administrator, he oversaw a 12% increase in the Biology End of Course (EOC) scores. Additionally, through his efforts as the ESOL Program Administrator, the graduation rates for English Language Learners (ELL) students increased by 15%.

Arnone has a bachelor’s in Social Science Education from Florida State University, a master’s degree in Education with Specialization in Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, and is currently working on a Doctor of Educational Leadership degree from Lynn University.

“As we continue to shift and move forward in the 2020-2021 school year, I am optimistic that, despite the challenges we face on a daily basis, the skills we are learning as an institution will serve to make American public education stronger,” Arnone said.

Altoria Henley has held the Assistant Principal position at K.E. Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary since 2018. In that time the school’s grade has risen from a “C” to a “B” with Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) proficiency increasing 11 points, ELA rising seven points, and science increasing by 15 points.

She also worked as the Glades Region K-12 virtual summer school principal in 2020. Previously, she was an Instructional Specialist in the Glades area, Assistant Principal of Belle Glade Elementary School, and the Principal of a charter school in Belle Glade.

Henley earned her bachelor’s with a cum laude distinction from Florida A&M University, in addition to a master’s in Mathematics Education and an Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. She has also worked toward a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership. She is a product of the School District of Palm Beach County, having graduated from Pahokee Middle Senior High School.

“It is my belief that truly great leaders do not aim to be leaders, but aim instead to make a difference,” Henley said. “They are driven by goals, not roles.”

Jeannie Placil is in her third year as the Assistant Principal at Banyan Creek Elementary, having previously been the AP at Coral Sunset for six years. During her time as AP, Placil has cultivated a positive single school culture and increased student engagement.

The school has seen learning gains of 19 points in math, 13 points in ELA, which helped improve the school grade by 38 points. Some of those gains can be attributed to her organizing and conducting before and afterschool study tutorial programs, as well as a summer enrichment program for Banyan Creek students.

Placil has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s in School Leadership from Florida Atlantic University. “In three short years, my service here has excelled my drive, challenged me to continue learning, motivated me to continually connect, and pulled at my heartstrings to always see the best in any scenario,” Placil said.

Andrea Walker has been the Assistant Principal at Lincoln Elementary School since 2015. During her tenure, the school had significant learning gains in math proficiency with a 33% increase, science proficiency rising 32%, and ELA proficiency increasing by 15%. 

Walker has a bachelor’s in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and her Doctorate of Education both from Nova Southeastern University.

“On this journey of educational leadership, I will forever be committed to being an effective leader who inspires, motivates, and leads with a purpose to accomplish the goals of the school,” Walker said.

The nominees will be celebrated and the winner will be announced in January 2021 during the Principal of the Year/Assistant Principal of the Year ceremony presented by The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County and sponsored by Comcast.

The District’s winner will be submitted to the state of Florida for its Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award. The award was established in 1997 to recognize exemplary principals for their contributions to their schools and communities.