By B.C. Manion
The Florida PTA has named Shaylia McRae, principal at Martinez Middle in Lutz, as its Outstanding Middle School Principal of the Year.
The principal’s nomination, submitted by the PTSA board at Martinez Middle, praises McRae’s leadership and ability to collaborate with others.
The principal has introduced many new programs to Martinez Middle since becoming the school’s instructional leader, the nomination notes.
Karen Cuervo, chairwoman of the board’s awards committee last year, was thrilled by McRae’s selection.
“Ms. McRae is an all-around great principal and deserved this award 100 percent,” Cuervo said in an email.
The principal strives to bring together the PTSA, the students, the administration, teachers and community to work toward a common goal — the welfare and success of the school’s students.
McRae also knows how to connect with people, says Cuervo, who is the incoming president of the school’s PTSA board.
“She has a lot of personality and makes being on the PTSA fun,” Cuervo notes. “I look forward to working with the Martinez administration every year.”
The school has taken great pride in having a cohesive team of administrators, staff, parents and students since the day it opened, according to the nomination letter.
McRae, who is the school’s second principal, came into the role “on the heels of a very organized and beloved principal,” it adds.
McRae “made the transition both positive and dynamic. Her willingness to step out of the box and create her own vision, while maintaining the core mission of the school was nothing short of brilliant. Without becoming stagnant in the process, she continues to focus on making clear the vision to provide the best education in the nation.”
In essence, she lives the mission of the school, which aims to provide all students the knowledge and skills needed to help them reach their highest potential, the letter states.
“We believe it is her impeccable leadership that continues to make Martinez Middle School an “A” school in every way.”
The letter goes on to says that Martinez possesses “unique leadership qualities” that are necessary at the middle school level, a time at which adolescents are going through a critical stage in their life and need firm, but empathetic direction.
Elinor Adler, chairwoman of the Florida PTA’s awards program, said in an email that judges take a number of factors into consideration when determining the winners of the annual awards.
Those include whether the principal promotes the purposes and mission of the Florida PTA, whether the principal encourages PTA members to get training at the county and state PTA levels, whether the principal attends PTA meetings and activities and what kind of impact the principal has on a school’s students, parents and faculty.
“Behind every successful PTA, there is a school principal who is supportive, helpful and personally involved in PTA. The judges look for the principal who best fits this description,” Adler said.
The winning elementary principal came from a school in Broward County and the winning high school principal came from a school in Seminole County.