Local principal wins national award

By: Gene Petriello Email
By: Gene Petriello Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, Sept. 4, 2007

JEFFERSON CTY, Ga.---From a state to national honor in a matter of seconds. The Jefferson County High School principal got the surprise of a lifetime.

A thousand pumped up students today at Jefferson County High School in Louisville congratulated Dr. Molly Howard on being the Georgia Principal of the Year.

Then, an even bigger announcement, one she and her students didn't even know about.

A big surprise for Dr. Molly Howard principal of Jefferson County High School.

"It's my pleasure to present you with this award recognizing you as the 2008 MetLife High School Principal of the Year," says NASSP President Barry Stark.

Quite an honor for someone with a long history in education and who started a dozen years ago when the doors opened at JCHS.

"It's truly a validation of 31 years of commitment and hard work," Dr. Howard says.

Dr. Howard took over a school with some major challenges: only 20 percent of the students were high achieving, 10 percent joined the military or technical schools and 70 percent graduated and stayed at home repeating a cycle of poverty.

Valuing every student turned that around.

"And when they know that, when you have something for them, then the students will take advantage of it and get it," she adds.

That turn around makes her 12 years at the school worthwhile. Her secret to success is not so secret at all. Rather, it's one simple thing to get her through the day.

"Laughing everyday! You got to laugh in a high school."

A remarkable achievement for today, but always with an eye on the future.

"It's time for the next generation to step forward and accept the challenge of making this a place where your children want to raise their children. Where you can be proud to say Jefferson County is my home," Howard says.

She'll be honored at an awards banquet on October 27th in Washington, DC.


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  • by ♥Dakota Lyn Location: Emmanuel College on Apr 8, 2010 at 04:45 PM
    Dr. Howard is a wonderful principal. One of my favorite things about her is that she remembers that personal relationships cannot be done away with. She was just as much a member of the family as she was an authority figure at the high school. In some cases (including mine) she and the teachers are the only family some of the students have. She laughs with you and cries with you. She celebrates when you do well and gives you a pep talk when you dont. In all, I fully believe she more than deserved the title of National Principal of the Year. Now that I have graduated, I really miss her, on a principal and personal level. LOVE YOU, MS. MOLLY!!!!! ♥Dakota Lyn
  • by LeAnn Location: Thomson on Sep 7, 2007 at 02:28 AM
    Dr. Howard's father was career military, serving actively in World War II. Her brother also made a career out of the military, graduating from West Point and serving his country until just recently when he retired. Dr. Howard knows first hand the benefits and opporunities associated with military service. She has counseled and encouraged students to choose this as their career. I can see how the article can be misunderstood, but believe me, Molly Howard respects all branches of the military and is genuinely grateful for the opporunities it provdes. She truly admires those who serve this country.
  • by n Location: Louisville on Sep 6, 2007 at 04:18 AM
    To John out of Augusta whats the point? What is it your trying to say? People don't know how to be happy for someone the only thing people no how to do know is criticize one another no matter what they do. Before you write in make sure you understand what you are saying because what you wrote don't make no sense and it don't sound like very educated either
  • by John Location: Augusta on Sep 5, 2007 at 05:39 PM
    Beleive it or not, I can read! The article states: "Dr. Howard took over a school with some major challenges: only 20 percent of the students were high achieving, 10 percent joined the military or technical schools and 70 percent graduated and stayed at home repeating a cycle of poverty." The key word is "CHALLENGES"! The article goes on to list three items - can we agree the items that follow indicate what she considers three challenges??? Give me a break! It implies that too many students were joining the service or attending technical school versus going on to a four year college. You all are misreading or misunderstanding!
  • by Linda Location: Stapleton on Sep 5, 2007 at 05:08 AM
    I would like to congratulate Dr.Howard on this big honor. I think you are doing a great job and keep up the good work. This community need more people like her. Continue to educate our children of the future.
  • by Brandon Location: North Augusta on Sep 4, 2007 at 07:38 PM
    I don't believe you've understood the reporter's wording correctly. If you add up the percentages, they equal 100. No one said joining the military or going to tech school was a bad thing; what Gene was doing was simply representing all of the numbers, and they indicate that 70% of JCHS students repeated a cycle of poverty. Any way you look at it, that is the challenge. By implying that the military service numbers were portrayed in a negative light, you're also implying the same of the 20% of students who were high achieving. As you can see, that's hardly what Gene or Dr. Howard meant.
  • by Teacher Location: JCHS on Sep 4, 2007 at 07:15 PM
    John, The fact that only 10% of students attended a technical college or joined the military is a problem when more than 70% had no post-secondary future at all. THe problem is the number of students with post secondary plans was far too small and needed to be higher. The comment was in no way a slight to anyone choosing to join the military, in fact many of our students join every year.
  • by Angela Location: CSRA on Sep 4, 2007 at 03:56 PM
    John: I think that you misread. They commented on the 10 percent who either went on to the military or technical school because that is a low percentage. Dr. Howard has greatly increased the percentage of students who went on to do something positive - whether military, tech school or college. This is a good thing, whichever they choose.
  • by mary Location: Evans on Sep 4, 2007 at 03:51 PM
    re-read the article. She does NOT say "serving our nation is a challenge."
  • by John Location: Augusta, GA on Sep 4, 2007 at 03:36 PM
    How is the fact that 10 percent of the students joined the military or attended technical school after graduation a "major callenge"? I would say that is a POSTIVE thing. Are you saying that joining the military is something that you don't want your students to do? I can assure you that the service is a GREAT place for your graduates to go. They will have 100% of their college tuition paid for while on active duty, they will gain experience that they cannot get in a college classroom, they will have a huge Montgomery G.I. Bill entitlement for college after completing active duty, and perhaps most of all - they can SERVE THEIR COUNTRY and defend those that lack the courage to do so! I think the comment above needs an explanation - I am shocked that a Georgia educator and "Principal of the Year" believes that serving our nation is "a challenge"! YOU SHOULD BE PROUD YOUR GRADUATES ARE DOING MORE THAN SIMPLY SITTING IN A COLLEGE CLASSROOM! THEY ARE MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE!!!!!!
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