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Georgia Southern University Alumna Recognized as Georgia’s National Distinguished Principal

eagleheadGeorgia Southern University alumna Debbie Rodriguez, Ed.D., has been named Georgia’s National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).  Rodriguez, who currently serves as principal of Taylors Creek Elementary in Hinesville, Ga. will be recognized in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

Each year, the NAESP honors the following outstanding elementary and middle-level administrators for setting high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for the students, families and staffs in their learning communities.

On Monday, Rodriguez’s school held a surprise celebration recognizing the achievement.  To be nominated for the honor, each principal must submit three accomplishments for consideration. In addition, letters of recommendation are submitted from parents, colleagues and the school superintendent.

“We are extremely proud of Dr. Rodriguez and congratulate her on this terrific achievement.  To be named one of the top elementary principals in the country is a terrific honor,” said Georgia Southern’s College of Education Dean, Thomas Koballa, Ph.D.  “Debbie is not only an outstanding principal who cares about her students and faculty and staff, but she is a great example of the type of graduates that have earned their education degrees from Georgia Southern University.”

During a recent interview with the media, Rodriguez said, “The greatest accomplishment is watching student achievement rise every year. It gets higher and higher. My dream is to give our kids a fair chance to compete in a global society and get a job. I am all about forward thinking and it is just a great honor. It feels awesome. I’m most proud of the staff and students at Taylors Creek.  The school received ‘model school’ status in 2011 from the Georgia Partnership of Excellence in Education.”

Rodriguez will be traveling to Washington, D.C. this week and will have the opportunity to tour the D.C. area and network with top elementary principals from around the country.  While recognized as Georgia’s Distinguished Principal, Rodriguez is up for yet another award.  At the end of the trip, the top principal in the country will be announced during a formal awards dinner.

In addition to her role as principal at Taylors Creek, Rodriguez currently serves on the Partnership Council along with the Governor’s Advisory Education Panel.  She is the second principal with Georgia Southern roots to earn national recognition in the past two years.   Eddie Pollard, principal at Tyrone Elementary in Tyrone, Ga., was named Georgia’s National Distinguished Principal in 2011.  Other Georgia Southern alumni have also made national headlines in recent years.   Molly Howard, Ed.D. (’00) was named MetLife/National Association of Secondary School Principals Principal of the Year in 2008.

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 120 degree programs serving more than 20,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. In 2012, the University was named one of the Top 10 most popular universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report and is a top choice of Georgia’s HOPE scholars.  Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.

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