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Tara Newton named F1S Principal of the Year


Dr. Richard O’Malley, Superintendent of Florence 1 Schools announced today that Tara Newton, Principal of Briggs Elementary School, has been named the Florence 1 Schools 2022-2023 Principal of the Year.

Nominated for this recognition by a group of her peers, including fellow principals and school administrators in Florence 1 Schools, Principal Newton has served at Briggs since 2014.  In recent years, Briggs Elementary has garnered local, state and national recognition.

Under Newton’s leadership, Briggs Elementary is the only school in Florence 1 participating in the whole-school improvement process known as Leader in Me.  This evidence-based approach empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. The school has been recognized national as a Leader in Me Lighthouse Certified school.

Sean Covey, President, Franklin Covey Education said, “We are thrilled to recognize Briggs Elementary School as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School. Schools that achieve this Lighthouse Certification are great examples of a strong leadership model, and of what it means to be a Leader in Me schoolThis school has experienced incredible results by implementing the principles and practices related to Leader in Me. And we are so pleased and honored to be their partner and to celebrate the success they are experiencing.”

Last year Briggs Elementary was also nationally recognized as a Blue-Ribbon School of Excellence Lighthouse School applauded for courage, collaborative spirit and commitment to excellence in ensuring all students get the education they deserve-all while dealing with the disruptions of a global pandemic.

Porter Stewart, Chairman of the Florence 1 Schools Board of Trustees said, “I am proud of the leadership that Mrs. Newton has brought to Briggs Elementary. It is evident from the accomplishments there that the administrators, teachers and staff are focused on student achievement in very effective programs. The school is also welcoming to families and the community. These are the fruits of dynamic leadership that starts with the principal.”

The Briggs Farm-to-School program has been featured on South Carolina Educational Television showcasing how the school collaboratively works with other South Carolina agencies to connect the schools and the students with local agriculture.

Said one of her nominating colleagues, “Mrs. Newton is an outstanding leader, and she has been the driving force behind the accomplishments received at Briggs.  Her students have grown academically each year, and she continues to seek out new and innovative way to reach her students.”

Still another colleague said, “Mrs. Newton exhibits excellent leadership within her school and community at large.  She consistently supports her students and advocates for their success daily.   The perception of the community is that Briggs is a welcoming school that promotes high standards for learning for all students.”

On Wednesday morning in a surprise visit amidst Briggs Elementary students and staff, Dr. O’Malley congratulated Newton for receipt of the honor.  He also announced that Principal Newton will now vie for the title of South Carolina Principal through the South Carolina School Administrators principal of the Year awards program.