Principal of Julius West Middle School Receives Mark Mann Award

September 24, 2002
James G. Fernandez, principal of Julius West Middle School, has been selected as recipient of the twelfth annual Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony Award. The honor is given annually to one local school administrator who has shown an exceptional ability to encourage academic excellence, positive human relations and strong community outreach.

Superintendent Jerry D. Weast presented Fernandez with the award on September 18 at a countywide meeting of Montgomery County Public Schools administrative and supervisory personnel.

Under Fernandez's leadership, Julius West Middle School has been recognized as one of the top six schools in the nation by the National Study of Leadership in Middle Level Schools. Julius West has outperformed any school of comparable size with similar student profiles on the statewide MSPAP. Fernandez, who has been principal of Julius West since 1996, places special emphasis on programs and activities to close the achievement gap, as well as on programs to enrich the school experience for the gifted and talented population.

"The panel members also were particularly impressed with the school's high staff morale and positive climate, factors that have promoted collaboration and open dialogue to further the academic success of all your students," Weast noted in the letter announcing Fernandez's selection.

Among the many school initiatives Fernandez supports is the Critical Analysis Program, a monthly schoolwide activity that emphasizes critical reading, thinking and writing skills; the International Baccalaurate Middle Years Programme; a second period of math or algebra instruction for selected students for remediation and enrichment; a needy student fund so no student misses a field trip or Outdoor Education for lack of financial resources; and a grassroots effort to involve African American parents from the community in ongoing dialogue.

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