2013 Rubenstein Awards for School Leaders 

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The Rubenstein Awards for School Leaders recognize the success of DCPS school leaders with a $5,000 award. Award winners were nominated by DCPS educators, students, parents, and community members, and then selected by a DCPS central office panel.

The awards are funded through the generosity of David Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group and chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Eligible teachers must earn a rating of Highly Effective under IMPACT.The Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Teaching winners are recognized at the annual Standing Ovation for DC Teachers, hosted by DC Public Education Fund and held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Andre Samuels, Principal, Browne Education Campus 

Andre Samuels' passion for turning teachers into educators is what drives his work.  “We work as educators to arm students not with rote knowledge, but with skills and tools to analyze ideas in order to develop and cultivate their own.”  Mr. Samuels began his career in school leadership by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and Policy and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Howard University. He remains active in the school of education at Howard University as an adjunct professor and new teacher mentor with the Ready to Teach program. Mr. Samuels is currently pursuing his Ed.D. in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Teacher Professional Development at Argosy University. Mr. Samuels began his work with DCPS in 2008 as an assistant principal at Stanton Elementary School and Smothers Elementary School. Upon arriving at MacFarland Middle School in 2010, Mr. Samuels led his team of educators in rebranding the school, fostering community support, and arming themselves with job embedded professional development to address issues often associated with poor instructional practices.  One of the most important components was deciding, differentiating, and mastering a curriculum that best met the academic needs of the diverse student population. Mr. Samuels’ hard work paid off, with 80% of the staff receiving an IMPACT rating of “Effective” or “Highly Effective”. MacFarland ended the 2013 school year with the 3rd highest proficiency gains on the DC CAS in Math and 5th highest in English Language Arts in all of DCPS, the highest combined performance gain of all middle schools in the district.

Janeece C. Docal, Principal, Powell Elementary School 

Janeece Docal began her career in school leadership by obtaining her Master’s in Education from The George Washington University.  She served as a Fulbright-Hays scholar to New Zealand studying curricular frameworks and reform efforts and as the Washington Post Cultural Ambassador and Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar to Japan. She completed her Education Specialist degree at The George Washington University in Educational Leadership and Administration and has taught as an adjunct professor for the Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Ms. Docal is currently in Georgetown University’s Executive Masters in Leadership program with the McDonough School of Business and is completing her Doctoral Thesis with the University of Vigo, Spain. 

Ms. Docal began her time in school leadership as an Assistant Principal at the Columbia Heights Education Campus--Bell Multicultural Senior High School in northwest Washington, DC, where she was previously an educator for nine years. She is a New Leader for New Schools (cohort 2008) and became the proud principal of Powell Elementary School in July 2009 where her passion for her students, teachers, and community continues to inspire her work. Powell is an International Spanish Academy, the recent winner of the Fight for Children Quality Schools Initiative Rising Star Award 2012, and second place bilingual school of the year for the Embassy of Spain's Colegio del Año 2013 award.  During her time as a teacher with DCPS, Ms. Docal was awarded the First Class Teaching Award and the Monarch Award for commitment to academics and service learning. It is with great humility that she accepts this award and with gratitude to the DCPS and Powell community, and all of the mentors and family that have supported her along the way.

Natalie Gordon, Principal, Jefferson Academy 

Natalie Gordon began her career in school leadership by obtaining a Master’s in Education degree from Trinity College via the New Leaders for New Schools Program, a year-long program designed to develop outstanding leaders for service in urban schools.  She received her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and she is currently pursuing an Executive Master’s in Leadership with the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.

Ms. Gordon has over 18 years of experience in urban education, with a particular expertise in school start-up. She is currently the principal of Jefferson Academy, a newly established, DCPS International Baccalaureate middle school. She was also the Founding Principal of Friendship Tech Prep, and both Principal and Assistant Principal at DC Prep's Edgewood Campus.  Ms. Gordon began her education career in New York City as a middle school teacher with Teach for America. Beyond school leadership, Ms. Gordon has worked with TFA as an advisor to corps members, a summer institute faculty director and a regional recruiter. She has extensive experience in the non-profit sector as both the Education Director and Executive Director of DC SCORES, a consultant with the New Teacher Project to lead administrator recruitment in DC Public Schools and manager of the DC Teaching Fellows Program.

Malaika Golden, Assistant Principal, Brightwood Education Campus 

Malaika Golden’s love for children and dedication to building the capacity of teachers through professional development has inspired her work. Ms. Golden began her leadership role as a first year teacher serving as a grade level team leader.  She the served as a Mentor Teacher and Instructional Coach. She came to DCPS as a Professional Development Specialist at central office, and is now in her third year as Assistant Principal at Brightwood Education Campus. Ms. Golden studied school leadership by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Educational Leadership and Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. She also obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Ms. Golden’s drive comes from the standard of setting high expectations for the entire school community. At Brightwood Education Campus, she focuses on coordinating, facilitating, and implementing components of the data cycles by monitoring and providing constructive feedback on daily instructional practices. She also designs and facilitates school specific professional development for staff. Ms. Golden served as an Assistant Principal in the Prince George’s County Public School System before she began her career at DCPS.

Anita M. Berger, Principal, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School 

Anita M. Berger began her career in school leadership by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Administration and Exercise Physiology from Howard University.  Ms. Berger served as an assistant professor at Howard University, publishing several research articles on health and wellness during her time there. She remains active in the Howard University community through her work with the Teacher Education Advisory Council, which ensures high quality professional education programs at Howard and focuses on the exchange of information and perspectives on teacher education practices, policies, and programs.

Ms. Berger has served as principal of Benjamin Banneker Academic High School since 2005.  Her expertise in planning and implementing advanced programs has fostered the first public high school in Washington, D.C. with the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.  She persistently implements school-wide instructional practices, ensuring high quality teaching and learning for all students.  Her purposeful collaboration has promoted several partnerships including Howard University, George Washington University, Georgetown University Law School, Trinity College, University of Oklahoma, U.S. Department of Education, White House Internship Program and more.  In 2009, Ms. Berger was recognized by the National Association of Secondary School Principals as the DC State Principal of the Year, an honor bestowed upon principals who have demonstrated high quality learning opportunities for all students as well as exceptional contributions to the profession. Ms. Berger is also a member of the College Board’s National Office for School Counselor Advocacy Advisory Board and the D.C. Public Schools Chancellor’s Cabinet.

Carolyne Albert-Garvey, Principal, Maury Elementary School 

Carolyne Albert-Garvey began her school leadership career by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Trinity University and a Master’s Degree in International and Comparative Education and Adult Training from The George Washington University. The first eleven years of her educational career were spent teaching at the elementary level. Ms. Albert-Garvey is a native French speaker from New Brunswick, Canada and taught in several French language immersion programs in Canada, Maryland and Virginia.

In 2004, Ms. Albert-Garvey was accepted into the New Leaders for New Schools program and became the resident principal at JC Nalle Elementary School in Southeast Washington. Ms. Albert-Garvey was the principal at Ben W. Murch Elementary School in Northwest Washington from 2005 to 2007, and principal at Friendship Chamberlain School from 2007 to 2009. She has served as principal at Maury Elementary since 2009.  Ms. Albert-Garvey’s major accomplishments include a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship for Foreign Language Teachers in 1991, an NEH Fellowship for Foreign Language Teachers in 1996, a Department of Education Blue Ribbon while at Murch Elementary School in 2007, and becoming an Ashoka Changemaker School Leader in 2013.

Deneen Olidge-Walker, Assistant Principal, Eliot-Hine Middle School 

Deneen Olidge-Walker is passionate about serving in the field of education because it has given her the opportunity to guide, nourish, and enrich the lives of others.  Mrs. Olidge-Walker began her career in school leadership by obtaining her Master’s Degree in Education Administration and Supervision from the University of New Orleans in Louisiana. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Southern University of New Orleans.

Mrs. Olidge-Walker’s professional career extends over 10 years in the field of education as a teacher, instructional coach, and currently as an administrator. She began her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher, and relocated to the DC area after Hurricane Katrina. She has served as the Assistant Principal at Eliot-Hine Middle School since 2011. She utilizes her expertise to make a difference in the lives of students by taking a hands-on approach in the learning environment. Her days consist of modeling effective instruction, providing professional development opportunities on researched best practices, and giving feedback and praise to teachers for effective teaching. Mrs. Olidge-Walker stresses the vital need to help teachers understand the importance of setting consistent, clear, high expectations for student achievement. She sees education as ever-evolving, and credits DCPS for continuing to equip her with the necessary tools for growth and sustainable development.

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