Communications and Community Engagement

Cliffdale Elementary School Leader Named Principal of the Year
Published by Angel Hoggard on October 20, 2020
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News Release
Topic: Cliffdale Elementary School Leader Named Principal of the Year

 

News Release
Renarta C. Moyd
Chief Communications Officer
Communications & Community Engagement
Email: renartac@ccs.k12.nc.us
Phone: 910-678-2307
Fax: 910-678-2619

Cliffdale Elementary School Leader Named Principal of the Year
Suzanne Owen received the award during a virtual celebration; 
Tianna O’Brien from Bill Hefner Elementary named Assistant Principal of the Year

Fayetteville, N.C. – Creating a positive and welcoming school culture is one of the first steps to ensuring students have equitable access to engaging learning. As principal of Cliffdale Elementary, Suzanne Owen has done just that and more. Tonight, she was named the Cumberland County Schools’ (CCS) 2021 Principal of the Year during the district’s first-ever Administrator of the Year Virtual Celebration.

“Giving teachers and teacher assistants exactly what they desire and need is the best way to build lasting bonds, create positive relationships, and help individuals feel as though they are a greater part of a whole,” said Owen. “Bottom line: building positive relationships is the only way to move from a negative culture to a thriving family-oriented professional organization.”

With 24 years of experience in education, Owen has served as principal of Cliffdale Elementary since 2018. During the past two years, Owen has worked tirelessly to support teachers and make sure all staff have access to materials and equipment needed to deliver excellent instruction. Under her leadership, students met growth in all measures, exceeding growth in reading.

“Congratulations to Ms. Owen who is an excellent leader and educator,” said Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., superintendent. “Her dedication to supporting teachers and building positive relationships with students is commendable, and we are fortunate to have her in CCS.”

Tianna O’Brien, assistant principal at Bill Hefner Elementary, was named the CCS 2021 Assistant Principal of the Year.

O’Brien has served as an assistant principal for four years after starting her career as a teacher in 2010. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and received a master’s degree in school administration from Fayetteville State University.

At Bill Hefner Elementary, O’Brien has made her mark on the school community. She led an equity team for staff and also started Hefner Halt, which is an alternative to student suspensions. Additionally, thanks to grants from the Fayetteville Arts Council, O’Brien has ensured students experience different cultures through performances and exciting programs.

“Ms. O’Brien has repeatedly outperformed my highest expectation as a seasoned administrator,” said Dr. Donald Cahill, principal of Bill Hefner Elementary. “She has put herself in the position of helping and coaching teachers to also be at their best and accept nothing less.”

As the district’s Principal of the Year winner, Owen received the following:

·        $3,000 total from Lafayette Ford Lincoln ($1,000 for personal use, $2,000 for school use);
·        A cash award, iPad mini and floral arrangement from CCS;
·        One CEU credit;
·        A commemorative Principal of the Year ring from Jostens;
·        An engraved desk clock from Herff Jones;
·        A box of delicious goodies from Zazzy Treats, Inc.;
·        A professional photography photo session from Lifetouch; and
·        A special trophy award from the Cumberland County Board of Education.

As the district’s Assistant Principal of the Year winner, O’Brien received the following:

·        $900 total from Olde Fayetteville Insurance and Financial Services, Inc. ($500 for personal use, $400 for school use);
·        An iPad mini and floral arrangement from CCS;
·        One CEU credit;
·        An engraved desk clock from Herff Jones;
·        A box of delicious goodies from Zazzy Treats, Inc.;
·        A professional photography photo session from Lifetouch; and
·        A special trophy award from the Cumberland County Board of Education.

The following Principal of the Year finalists were recognized at the event and received a professional photography photo session from Lifetouch, an iPad mini from CCS, $100 stipend from CCS, 1 CEU credit and a plaque certificate from the Cumberland County Board of Education:

·        Dr. Zakiyyah Backman from Westarea Elementary School
·        Sheri Bain from Sunnyside Elementary School
·        Shannon Booth from Spring Lake Middle School
·        Dr. Michele Cain from Cumberland Road Elementary School
·        David Culbreth from Pine Forest High School
·        Erica Fenner-McAdoo from Howard Hall Elementary School

The following Assistant Principal of the Year finalists were recognized at the event and received a professional photography photo session from Lifetouch, $100 from Olde Fayetteville Insurance and Financial Services, Inc., 1 CEU credit and a plaque certificate from the Cumberland County Board of Education:

·        Janet Blue from Gray’s Creek Middle School
·        Sherrill Haley from Ashley Elementary School
·        Kelly McKoy from Cumberland Road Elementary School
·        Dr. Queesha Tillman from Loyd Auman Elementary School
·        Casey Yates from Gray’s Creek High School
·        Jason Norton from Pine Forest High School (Posthumous)

“This year—more than ever before—it’s important that we celebrate our school leaders who have shown resilience during a challenging and unprecedented school year,” said Dr. Connelly. “The principals and assistant principals recognized tonight have all made an impact thanks to their strong leadership, positive attitudes and innovative thinking.”

As the district’s Principal of the Year winner, Owen will go on to compete for the regional title.

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