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Florida TaxWatch Releases Findings of 2020 Education Leadership Roundtable with Principal Leadership Award Winners

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida TaxWatch (FTW) today released its Education Leadership Roundtable Summary Report, which explores ways to improve the overall quality of Pre-K–12 education by examining the “best practices” of some of the state’s most effective public-school principals. The summary report includes key strategies for success shared during a recent FTW Education Roundtable Discussion, along with supporting research and key takeaways.

Roundtable participants included the nine current winners of 2019-20 TaxWatch Principal Leadership Awards. The participants discussed the challenges to effective leadership, ways to attract and retain high-quality teachers, professional development for principals, how to get the most from educators, and the benefits of principal autonomy.

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro stated, “As Florida’s only data-driven principal recognition initiative, the Florida TaxWatch Principal Leadership Awards program recognizes educators each year who continue to produce insightful observations and recommendations to improve the success of Florida’s students. This year’s virtual roundtable discussion proved once again the incredible value of hearing directly from Florida’s innovative leaders on what works and what can be improved to maximize the success and educational value for our students.” 

“Serving as Chairman of Florida TaxWatch, I have seen firsthand how critically important these transformational public school principals have impacted local students, parents, and taxpayers, which are all contributing factors to the health, vitality and prosperity of their communities,” added former Florida State Senator Pat Neal, business leader and Chairman of Neal Communities. “Florida TaxWatch is proud to present the findings of our discussion in this report and hope it continues to serve as a useful guide to educators and leaders across the Sunshine State.”

The FTW summary report identifies several best practices that were common among the principals, including:

  • Being the first staff member students see each morning when they arrive at school;
  • Stressing parental involvement, and having an open-door policy;
  • Caring about each student, to the point where many students could easily recall one or more personal interactions with the principal that one would typically expect of a favorite teacher;
  • Remaining involved and engaged in the classroom, often helping to teach classes;
  • Using data prominently in developing learning curriculum; and
  • Creating a collaborative environment where teachers feel their voices are heard and respected.

Read the full Education Leadership Roundtable Summary Report here.

About Florida TaxWatch
As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog and taxpayer research institute for more than forty years and the trusted eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses. Florida TaxWatch is supported by its membership via voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, please visit


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