October 15, 2013
Mayor Gray and Chancellor Henderson Announce 2013 DCPS Principal and Teacher of the Year
District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray and District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson today announced the 2013 DCPS Principal and Teacher of the Year. The Principal of the Year is Abdullah Zaki of Kelly Miller Middle School. The Teacher of the Year is Kathy Hollowell-Makle, a kindergarten Teacher at Simon Elementary School.
“This is my one of my favorite times of the year – when we get to brag about the amazing accomplishments of our educators. Principal Zaki and Ms. Hollowell-Makle are outstanding educators who give their all to their students,” said Henderson. “Principal Zaki has transformed Kelly Miller Middle School through his unyielding determination to his students, his teachers and the community. Ms. Hollowell-Makle makes her kindergarteners love coming to school and she sets the foundation for their future success.”
“It’s a very exciting day for the District and for DCPS as we celebrate these educators who represent the best of DCPS,” said Mayor Gray. “They embody what all educators should strive to be – they set a high bar for their students and they work hard every single day. I am so grateful to them for their commitment to the children of this city and I congratulate them on this well-deserved acknowledgement.”
“Ms. Hollowell-Makle is a people person and enjoys working with all students,” said Adelaide Flamer, principal of Simon Elementary School. “Her interactions with students highlights her interest and persistence in moving students toward success. She is an asset to the staff of Simon Elementary School and a jewel to her students and their families.”
“Principal Zaki is deserving of this award based on his dedication to student achievement,” said Mark King, DCPS Instructional Superintendent responsible for middle schools. “His determination and focus on student achievement is not matched by many administrators that I have been exposed to in my over 20 year educational career.”
DCPS will celebrate Principal Zaki, Ms. Hollowell-Makle and other highly effective educators at the fourth-annual Standing Ovation for DC Teachers at the Kennedy Center on November 4, 2013. The star-studded event will celebrate the over 1,200 DCPS educators who earned ratings of highly effective during the 2012-2013 school year. Awards will be presented to the winners of the Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Leadership award winners, to be announced later this month. DCPS principals will also be in attendance, as well as celebrities, community members, stakeholders and DCPS supporters.
Kathy Hollowell-Makle, Kindergarten Teacher, Simon Elementary School
Kathy Hollowell-Makle joined Teach For America in 1998, inspired by her volunteer work with an after-school program. After teaching for two years in DCPS, “I realized that I loved teaching,” she says. “Here I am some 15 years later.” At Simon, where she has taught for four years, Ms. Hollowell-Makle has served on numerous committees and acted as a grade-level chair and mentor teacher. Her principal, Adelaide D. Flamer, explains, “Ms. Hollowell-Makle is generous in sharing research-based best practices, and is highly respected among her colleagues as a knowledgeable, compassionate, dedicated, and enthusiastic educator.” She has also been involved in policy conversations at a national level, contributing to a panel discussion on adequate elementary school funding at the Finance Project and participating in a small group roundtable about early childhood education with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Her children currently attend Oyster-Adams Bilingual School.
At Simon, Ms. Hollowell-Makle appreciates the attitude that “every student is your student,” and enjoys the “happiness and joy that hum around the building.” She creates that energy in her own classroom by focusing on students’ confidence and perseverance. As she puts it, “At the start of the year, 24 kids will look 24 different ways, but the goal in the end is to move them all toward fluency in reading, writing and counting.” By the close of the school year, more than 90 percent of her students consistently demonstrate early literacy at proficient or advanced levels. Last year, more than 80 percent of her students advanced two or more reading levels. “This can-do attitude permeates the classroom,” says Ms. Hollowell-Makle. “Students encourage and cheer on other students.” Ms. Hollowell-Makle takes pleasure in being a part of her students’ academic and social growth, explaining, “The best part of teaching is having former students recognize me, and being able to see how wonderful they turned out to be.”
Abdullah Zaki, Principal, Kelly Miller Middle School
With close to 15 years of experience as an urban educator in the District of Columbia, Abdullah A. Zaki II began his career as a teacher at Roosevelt Senior High School. Throughout his career he has served as an Assistant Principal at Maya Angelou PCS, Ballou Senior High School and Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. Currently, he is the Principal of Kelly Miller Middle School which offers one of two Gifted and Talented programs in Ward 7. Under his leadership, truancy has dropped from 30% to 1% and suspensions have been reduced by over 50%; most importantly, over a three year period, Kelly Miller students’ standardized test scores have increased by more than 30% in math and by more than 15% in reading as measured by the DC Comprehensive Assessment System. Abdullah A. Zaki II believes that gains in education are the direct result of utilizing data to make informed decisions, providing quality professional development opportunities, celebrating the accomplishments of all members of the school family and establishing a culture of equity, excellence and expectations. In addition to maintaining the responsibilities of a school leader, Abdullah A. Zaki II also serves as a mentor principal for the Mary Jane Patterson Fellow Program and the New Leaders for New Schools Program.