Local principal wins national award

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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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