When Rick Fleming won the Principal of the Year award for Brevard County on July 20, the recognition came with some additional responsibilities that have required him to miss time from school. Fleming has been named to various committees and has been engaging in district and statewide collaboration and feedback practices that take him to classrooms in other school districts to gain new information to apply back home.
And if that weren’t enough, Fleming also is representing Brevard County in a competition against administrators from the 66 other counties to become Florida’s next Principal of the Year.
“I think he has a good chance of winning,” Assistant Principal Catherine Halbuer said. “He’s a great principal, and he has a great strength in empowering others to be successful and empowering others to step up and take leadership positions, even among the students.”
Fleming’s absences have left a bit of extra work for the other two administrators on campus, but Halbuer said due to excellent communication and organization, the extra work does not pose a significant hindrance to the school’s daily operations.
“We all work together really well as a team so that we share what’s going on, and we communicate about different aspects,” Halbuer said. “We also try to have an open-door policy so that whoever comes through the door can be helped by any free administrator. I use my cellphone during school days, but it’s an efficient way of keeping him in the loop on issues and decisions.”
Both faculty members and students have celebrated Fleming’s accomplishment.
“I definitely think this brings a lot of pride to the school,” Halbuer said. “It’s another accolade for West Shore and a testament to the commitment he shows for us. Mr. Fleming puts the students [first], then the teachers and then the administration, so it’s our job for us in administration to provide a foundation for your guys’ success.”
Junior Jenna Franklin said Fleming deserves this award.
“He is very involved with the school and students,” Franklin said. “He goes out of his way to know most of the students by name, which I find very impressive. An award of this magnitude is also a great recognition for the school.”
By Madhav Pamidimukkala