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Florida TaxWatch Announces Indian Ridge School and Rosenwald Elementary School Principals as 2022-23 Principal Leadership Awards Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thurs., March 16, 2023
CONTACT: Aly Coleman Raschid, aly@on3pr.com, 850.391.5040


Florida TaxWatch Announces Indian Ridge School and Rosenwald Elementary School Principals as 2022-23 Principal Leadership Awards Winners


West Palm Beach, Fla. – Today, Thurs., March 16, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) will proudly announce that Indian Ridge School Principal Eugene Ford and Rosenwald Elementary School Principal Bruce Hightower are among the nine winners of the Florida TaxWatch 2022-23 Principal Leadership Awards (PLA). Through the program, Principals Ford and Hightower have also each identified one deserving student to receive a full two-year Florida Prepaid College Scholarship. 


The awards and scholarships will be presented during two separate ceremonies today. The first ceremony will be held at the Indian Ridge School campus at 10 a.m., and the second will be held at the Rosenwald Elementary School campus at 1 p.m. Media are invited to attend and asked to contact Aly Coleman Raschid via email at aly@on3pr.com or by phone at 850.391.5040 to RSVP.


Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro said, “The winners of Florida TaxWatch’s annual Principal Leadership Awards have earned this recognition because of their passion, creativity, and dedication to making their schools a better place to both teach and learn. We have the privilege of rewarding these principals for their remarkable leadership and the positive impact they are having on so many, from educators to students to their communities at large. They have gone above and beyond to make a meaningful difference and, most importantly, ensure future generations don’t just succeed – they thrive.”


J.M. Rubin Foundation Vice President and Treasurer Kim Harris said, “The excellence of our Florida students begins with the relentless efforts of principals and educators who are dedicated to providing exceptional learning. The J.M. Rubin Foundation is proud to extend our support of Florida TaxWatch in the recognition of these outstanding principals whose leadership and educational models cultivate an environment for student success and growth.”


Florida Prepaid College Foundation Director Cindy O’Connell said, “Every day, the work of these dedicated principals dictate which opportunities for success will be available to our children and how their educational experience will mold them into a future leader and productive member of our society. The Florida Prepaid College Foundation is proud to support the Principal Leadership Awards with the Foundation’s Academic A+ Challenge Match Scholarship Program. We look forward to helping these nine students realize their potential, and we thank Florida TaxWatch for its commitment to highlighting the good works of these public servants and unyielding dedication to education in Florida.”


School District of Palm Beach County Superintendent Michael J. Burke said, “We greatly appreciate Florida TaxWatch for honoring two of our Palm Beach County School District leaders, Eugene Ford and Bruce Hightower. The Florida TaxWatch Principal Leadership Award demonstrates the organization's commitment to celebrating excellence in education. We are grateful for their recognition of our employees' accomplishments as they work to Educate, Affirm, and Inspire our students."


About the Principal Leadership Awards Program

Established by Florida TaxWatch (FTW) in 2013, the Principal Leadership Awards (PLA) program serves to acknowledge and reward educational leaders who are creating meaningful change in their students’ lives, while also promoting their uniquely effective practices among their peers. This program, which is the only one of its kind nationwide, recognizes nine of Florida’s most successful principals from high-risk K-12 public schools across the state (three principals each from elementary, middle, and high schools, including traditional and charter public schools). Principals are selected based on weighted Department of Education data, not through nominations.

Additionally, FTW is partnering with the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and private corporate sponsors to provide one student from each winner’s school with a two-year Florida College Plan Scholarship. The winning students – who find out about the scholarship during a surprise announcement the day of the award presentation – are selected by their principal and must meet several criteria that would traditionally make attending college, let alone paying for it, a significant challenge. Through these scholarships, this transformational program is able to change deserving students’ lives and help close the achievement gap.


The PLA program is supported by generous sponsors, including: The J.M. Rubin Foundation, The Florida Lottery, Florida Prepaid College Foundation, Charter Communications, FBMC, Florida Coalition for Children, FICPA, FP&L, Gunster, Helios, Kyra Solutions, Maximus, TECO Energy, Walmart, Dominic and Debbie Calabro, Steve and Linda Evans, and Tony and Allison Carvajal.


For more information, including a full list of the 2022-23 PLA winners, click 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 (FTW) 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. FTW is supported by its membership via voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled FTW 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 www.floridataxwatch.org


About the J.M. Rubin Foundation

The J.M. Rubin Foundation is a Florida not-for-profit charitable corporation established in 1973 by J. M. (Jake) Rubin, who was a general contractor working on highway and road projects throughout the southeast. He loved Palm Beach so much that he came back in 1946 to establish the Rubin Construction Company and to make this his home. The Foundation was fully funded upon his death in 1993. The J.M. Rubin Foundation's current focus is to provide scholarships to residents of Palm Beach County at any recognized educational institution. For more information, please visit www.jmrf.org/foundation-background.


About the Florida Prepaid College Foundation
The Florida Prepaid College Foundation administers several innovative scholarship programs designed to help students achieve their dream of earning a college education. The Stanley Tate Project STARS (Scholarship Tuition For At- Risk Students) Scholarship Program is the Foundation’s hallmark program. Since the Stanley Tate Project STARS scholarship program began, 29,000 scholarships have been awarded to low-income students at risk of dropping out of school, and who otherwise might not have had the opportunity to attend college. In addition to the Stanley Tate Project STARS program, the Foundation sponsors scholarship programs in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month. When combined with the number of scholarships purchased for the Stanley Tate Project STARS program and scholarships purchased by other charitable organizations, the Foundation has awarded almost 37,700 college scholarships, and more than 20,800 students have attended college using their scholarship benefits. The Foundation is the 501(c)3 direct support organization for the Florida Prepaid College Board. For more information, please visit www.floridaprepaidcollegefoundation.com.


About the Florida Lottery

The Florida Lottery is responsible for contributing more than $43 billion to enhance education and sending more than 950,000 students to college through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Lottery reinvests 99 percent of its revenue back into Florida's economy through prize payouts, commissions to more than 13,000 Lottery retailers and transfers to education. Since 1988, Florida Lottery games have paid more than $85.8 billion in prizes and made more than 3,500 people millionaires. For more information, please visit www.flalottery.com.  



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