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April 27, 2015

Blair principal wins Washington Post award

by Ellie Struewing, Online Features Editor
The Washington Post named Blair principal Renay Johnson a Distinguished Educational Leader for Montgomery County earlier this month. The annual award is given to 20 principals from school districts across the region whose hard work has helped make their school an "exceptional educational environment." Winners also received an invitation to attend an all-expense-paid four day leadership seminar. The award ceremony will be held on May 5th.

Teachers, students and administrators nominated principals who "go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position", and winners were chosen by the nominated principal's school system. Blair's assistant principal Dirk Cauley led the nomination but additional staff members filled out nomination forms stating that Johnson exhibited the criteria for the award. Outgoing superintendant Joshua Starr informed Johnson that she had won in February, but Johnson kept it a secret until the Washington Post made the official announcement.
Ms. Johnson is loved by her school.
Ms. Johnson is loved by her school.

Johnson was at an education conference when she first heard that she had won, and the news surprised her. "I got a message that Dr. Starr was looking for me and I'm thinking it must be that my kids won an award because Blair kids are great, but then he said 'you're the Washington Post principal of the year!'" Johnson said.

Johnson makes herself a regular presence throughout Blair and is a familiar face to most Blazers, which makes many students very appreciative. "I respect that she said that the silent protests were not to be disturbed," said sophomore Tommy Norris, referencing earlier in the year when Johnson allowed students to protest the controversial decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown.

Johnson also makes herself accessible to the school in other ways, like through social media, and junior Christine Monyak likes her amusing tweets. Overall, Monyak says that Johnson is popular around the school. "We all love her here," Monyak said. In addition to this award, Johnson has also received the 2013 National Board Certified Teachers Network Principal of the Year and the 2013-2014 SEIU Making a Difference Award.



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