HOUSTON – Jan. 11, 2019 –Students and staff at Bammel Elementary School and Spring Early College Academy were both surprised and excited on Friday afternoon after hearing that their principal had been named a Spring ISD Principal of the Year.
Bammel Principal Berky Hernandez-Owolabi will serve as the district’s Elementary Principal of the Year and Early College Academy Principal Diana Kimberly as the district’s Secondary Principal of the Year – an honor that qualifies them to advance to the regional competition later this month.
“It’s not just of the work that you’ve done on campus, but you have to know that your peers picked you,” said School Leadership Officer Kimberly Fonteno after surprising Kimberly in her office. “The respect from the people you work with is important as well.”
As students and staff gathered in the lunchroom at Early College, Dr. Lupita Hinojosa, chief of school leadership and student support services, continued the celebration by letting students know that their academic success had contributed to their principal’s achievement.
“Congratulations to the entire faculty, staff and all of our students,” Hinojosa said to students. “Because of all of your hard work, and Mrs. Kimberly and her leadership, she will be representing Spring ISD in the Region 4 Competition for Principal of the Year.”
Kimberly says she felt very honored and very humbled to have been selected by her colleagues. Her father Terry Bouie, along with her mother, husband, children and other family members, were also in attendance.
“One of my first memories of Diana was coming home from work, and she had all of her dollies sitting on the floor, and she was teaching them,” said Bouie. “I think she’s always known that she wanted to be a teacher at a very early age.”
Principal Hernandez-Owolabi was running late from a meeting when she walked into a gymnasium of students and staff. When the curtains pulled back from the stage in the gym, her entire family was awaiting to surprise her with the news.
“I’m so proud to be your principal,” Hernandez-Owolabi told her students. “You all are growing, you all act the way you’re supposed to act, so I thank you and the staff that are here for making me Principal of the Year.”
The annual award is given to a primary and a secondary level principal. The finalists were selected based on a number of factors, including academic data, effective leadership practices and a peer voting process. The principals were also judged on their commitment to the district’s priorities and their school’s community engagement. Both Kimberly and Hernandez-Owolabi will go on to the Region 4 competition, and will also be recognized at the annual Spring ISD Employee Recognition Banquet in the spring.