Five Baltimore principals to be honored tonight in Heart of School awards

Five Baltimore principals will be honored Monday night in the second annual Heart of the School Awards for their work serving students and strengthening school communities.

The five winners will be announced during a ceremony beginning 5:30 p.m. at the Hippodrome Theater, and they will receive $2,500 for their schools. Students, parents and teachers submitted nearly 600 nominations for 84 principals that have been narrowed down to ten finalists.

The finalists were selected for creating schools with a strong sense of community, high expectations, improving achievement, and effective enrichment and support for students and teachers, the awards organizers said.

"Principals are the backbones of our school communities," city schools chief Sonja Santelises said in a statement. "They are relentless in their commitment to the success of their schools and our city, and I am incredibly grateful for their service."

The awards debuted last year to spotlight the role of principals. The inaugural event was attended by nearly 600 people and helped raise more than $250,000. The money goes to the Principal Support Fund, which provides grants to principals for projects that improve school culture and student success. The fund has awarded 26 grants totaling more than $100,000 for field trips, murals, computers, professional development, a school production of Beauty and the Beast.

The awards and Principal Support Fund were created by the nonprofit Fund for Educational Excellence with Baltimore city schools.

"Every day, our principals are building positive environments where students and teachers can thrive," the nonprofit's president, Roger Schulman, said in a statement. "Through the Awards, we're showing our principals that we support and value the critical role they play in the lives of our students and the success of our city.

This year's principal finalists include:

•Corey Basmajian, Windsor Hills Elementary/Middle School

•Patricia Burrell, North Bend Elementary/Middle School

•Roxanne Forr, Cecil Elementary School

•Crystal Harden-Lindsey, Green Street Academy

•Amber Kilcoyne, Medfield Heights Elementary School

•Samuel Rather II, Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary School

•Danielle Tillman-Cromartie, Armistead Gardens Elementary/Middle School

•Christophe Turk, George Washington Elementary School

•Zaharah Valentine, Baltimore Design School

•Tammatha Woodhouse, Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High School

For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.heartoftheschoolawards.org.

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