DoDEA Americas Announces the 2019 Region Principal of the Year

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  • Department of Defense Education Activity

The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Americas region proudly announces that Paul Hernandez, the Maxwell Elementary-Middle School principal in Alabama, as the 2019 DoDEA Americas Principal of the Year.

"Paul leads as a data-driven principal who motivates others to make a difference in the lives of students and staff," said Dr. Judith Minor, DoDEA Americas Region Director of Student Excellence. "He is a dedicated educator who is deeply committed to advancing student learning, with himself being a lifelong learner in service to advance excellence in education every day for our military-connected students."

Hernandez has fourteen years of classroom teaching experience with DoDEA; over three years of world language experience as the region instructional support specialist in DoDEA Pacific; and two years as an assistant principal. He has been the principal at Maxwell Elementary-Middle School since July 2015.

"While I am grateful to be recognized for any part that I may have played in helping make Maxwell Elementary-Middle School a great school," said Hernandez. "I readily acknowledge that this award is merely a reflection of our dedicated teachers and staff, our amazing students, and the supportive community in which we live."

He received a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University in Utah, a master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, and completed an educational specialist degree from Wayne State College.

At school, he spends time in the classroom, with students and teachers, and looking at data. When decisions are made; his community knows, and they are in the best interest of our students. Decisions are thoroughly thought out using logic and data. Hernandez also believes that students are the heart of everything we do. He focuses on removing all obstacles that impede teaching, learning, and progress.

Hernandez spends, at least, 20 hours each week volunteering in a wide range of areas from disaster relief and visiting patients in a nursing home to organizing activities for youth, and providing training for leaders and teachers in eleven local congregations. He is committed to a lifetime learning. Currently, his hobbies include baking artisan bread, studying Portuguese, and learning to play the piano.

The DoDEA Principal of the Year Program recognizes outstanding school principals, who have succeeded in leading high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession. The process begins at the nomination level where principals are nominated by peers, employees, parents, students or community members.

DoDEA recognizes one school PoY in each of the three regions; Pacific, Americas and Europe. Selection for each region Principal of the Year is by a region panel using specified criteriaj. Three principals were named Region Principal of the Year for 2019. Each Region Principal of the Year is invited to apply for the DoDEA Principal of the Year program.

One of the selected Regional PoY recipients will be selected as the DoDEA PoY, and proceed through the appropriate national association nomination process, representing DoDEA at the national level. During the year, the chosen Principal of the Year will serve as ambassador to their profession, be provided leadership growth opportunities, and support DoDEA priorities and initiatives.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-aged children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.