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​Georgia educator named National Assistant Principal of the Year

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, or Keisha Ford-Jenrette, 404-657-2949,

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May 19, 2015 – Jessica Ainsworth, an Assistant Principal at Lithia Springs High School in Douglas County, is the National Assistant Principal of the Year, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) announced today. Ainsworth will represent her profession at the national level for the next year. 

“Strong leadership at the school level is absolutely essential as we work to personalize, rather than standardize, Georgia students’ education,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Ms. Ainsworth’s role is not an easy one, and it requires a genuine love for the work and a desire to serve students. I offer her my sincere congratulations and am thrilled an educator of her caliber will represent Georgia nationwide.”

Faced with the need to turn around a struggling culture and climate at Lithia Springs High School, Ainsworth instituted The MANE Thing, a six-pronged initiative that reflects a clear purpose and vision for academic success. She involved all stakeholders in an emphasis on classroom instruction, intervention programs, assessment and performance data analysis, attendance, behavior and supervision, and parent engagement. Her efforts have led to consistent increases in reading scores across all subgroups, most notably a tripling of the reading proficiency rate among students with disabilities from 27 percent to 83 percent.

Lithia Springs has also seen increases in graduation rate, job placements and college acceptances. Ainsworth values the students behind the numbers and maintains strong relationships with stakeholders. Students describe Ainsworth as approachable, and teachers value the professional development opportunities she regularly creates for them.

NASSP annually honors an assistant principal from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools. Three finalists were selected from the pool of state winners and were interviewed in Washington, D.C. this April. Ainsworth was selected from among that pool of three finalists.​