Deanna Fisher holds many titles. The Spoto High assistant principal is a wife, mother of a sixth-grade son and Hillsborough County Public School (HCPS) graduate, but it’s her newest title as 2018 Assistant Principal of the Year for the district that she still can’t quite believe.
“I’m so blessed to work in Hillsborough County with amazing leadership. People keep saying that I’m deserving of this – I don’t know. There are so many deserving assistant principals. I’m honored to represent Hillsborough County, but still wondering why they picked me,” said Fisher.
For Spoto High School Principal David New and teachers who work with Fisher, the reasons for the honor couldn’t be clearer.
“She is all about the students. All the time,” said Marika Starks, ninth grade intensified algebra teacher.
“Her absolute best strength, in my estimation, is her ability to predict problems, not react to problems, but predict problems and then go way outside of the box in a way that’s creative, but well thought-out to solve that problem. Then, garner that support to get people on board,” said New.
“Deanna is an amazing leader, and the reason for that is that she creates such buy-in,” said Becky Walker, ninth grade biology teacher.
Fisher, and the HCPS 2018 Principal of the Year, Sharon Waite from Lockhart Elementary Magnet, are selected by a district committee. Educational Leadership and Professional Development said the honorees are chosen based on: school and/or student gains, culture surveys, innovative practices, contribution to the leadership profession, and continuous learning.
Fisher is an East Bay High School graduate. She said she initially pursued a marketing/public relations career, but found her real calling after co-teaching with one of her former East Bay teachers.
“It was just a wonderful experience to work with my former teacher and a person who I would consider my mentor. After that year, I just knew I wanted to be in education and inspire students the way that she had inspired me,” said Fisher.
She worked at Riverview High School, South County Career Center, and has been at Spoto for eight years – first as assistant principal of student affairs, then assistant principal of curriculum for the past 5 years.
Fisher said the job comes with challenges that she’s determined to solve. Many of the students who enroll at Spoto are performing below grade level in literacy and math skills. Fisher championed a new program this year to make sure that all ninth grade students are on track to graduate with their peers.
“One thing that we have decided to do this year is implement a ninth-grade academy. So, all of our ninth graders are team scheduled. They have a team of teachers that work with the students to ensure that they’re being successful,” Fisher said.
“She has the connections with the kids and the faculty that shows them that she really cares about what’s going on. She’s not doing it for any other reason other than for them to be successful,” said New. “As far as an administrator, as far as work ethic, as far as thinking outside-of-the-box, she is second-to-none in my opinion.”
Fisher is now being considered by the Florida Department of Education for the Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award. The award began in 1997 “to recognize exemplary assistant principals for their contributions to their schools and communities. The program honors assistant principals that have utilized teamwork and leadership skills to increase student performance, promote safe learning environments and establish partnerships with parents and community members.”
Each school district in Florida can only nominate one assistant principal. The finalists will be announced this month. The state winner will be named on February 9, 2018, at the Commissioner’s Summit for Principals.
Her colleagues are some of her biggest cheerleaders.
“Good luck and congratulations,” said Starks.
“Go, Deanna,” cheered Walker.
“I’m hoping she gets it, because she deserves it. I hope this not only gives recognition for what she does, but for what assistant principals in this district do on a daily basis,” said New.
Fisher believes her success and the success of students is a team effort that’s spotlighted by this honor. “For the recognition it’ll provide our school district, and more specifically just shine light on the hard work that our teachers and students are doing here at Spoto High School.”
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