Doing Deep River School proud
Deep River Elementary, according to school administrators from the rest of Lee County, is in very good hands.
Principal Amy Lundy and Assistant Principal Jennifer Rosser have been named the school district's Principal of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year — awards that are determined annually by a vote among the district's principals and assistant principals. The two were honored Tuesday night by the Lee County Board of Education and will now advance to compete for the statewide honors.
"It was a goal of mine, and I do feel very honored," Lundy, the school's fourth-year principal, said Tuesday. "... I think this is the greatest place in the world to be, and I'm thankful for all the opportunities."
Rosser added, "It has been the greatest experience of my career to work for Lee County Schools."
The administrators reportedly were surprised with the news during what they thought was a routine afternoon meeting earlier this month. According to a press release from Lee County Schools, Lundy responded by saying: "I know without a doubt, this recognition is due to the hard work and dedication of our Deep River faculty and students. Our staff continues to overcome great challenges in education to prepare our students for a successful future."
Deep River is located in northern Lee County and has one of the county's smallest, yet most diverse, student bodies. Of the 315 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders enrolled in the 2011-12 school year — the most recent such data available from the state — most students were minorities. In addition, more than 76 percent were classified as economically disadvantaged, and nearly one in every four had limited English skills; approximately 15 percent had a learning disability.
About 56 percent of students were reading at grade level by third grade, although that number was 67 percent in fourth grade and 62 percent in fifth grade.
Rosser, who is now working on a doctorate in educational leadership, told the school board Tuesday that she has researched several other low-income school districts for her work — work that made her come away with an even greater appreciation for local students, educators and school officials.
When she received the award, according to the Lee County Schools press release, Rosser said: "It takes a village for great changes to occur. With deep gratitude, I thank my colleagues for this very special recognition. For me, this award reflects a shared commitment, sacrifice and dedication from all of us for the benefit and future of our children."
Bryan said that having both award winners at the same school is a testament to teamwork.
"Amy is always willing to do whatever it takes to help students and staff be successful, and she's always willing to share those successful ideas with principals throughout the district," Bryan said in a written statement. "... [And] Jennifer is passionate about her role and works hard every day to make sure the school runs smoothly. She always has the needs of the students and staff foremost in her decisions.
"We're extremely fortunate to have Amy and Jennifer at Deep River."