Wilke Named Principal of the Year Finalist for Florida

St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) is proud to share the Florida Department of Education’s (FDOE) announcement for Principal of the Year finalists.  Lawnwood Elementary Principal Traci Wilke is named as one of the three finalists!  

Superintendent E. Wayne Gent stated, “Mrs. Wilke is exemplary in every facet of educational leadership.  She is passionate about providing the very best learning environment for her students, committed to supporting her staff, and engaged in participating in the community she serves.  She has blazed a trail of success with her past educational experiences, and I foresee a future equally as productive with regard to her impact on student achievement.”


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Contact: 850-245-0413




Commissioner Stewart Announces Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year Finalists 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., January 12, 2018 – Today, Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart announced the finalists for Florida’s 2018 Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership (Principal of the Year) and the Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award (Assistant Principal of the Year). The winners will be named during the Commissioner’s Summit for Principals on February 9 in Orlando.

“It is a great honor to recognize these principals and assistant principals whose hard work and commitment to Florida’s students sets them apart, and I look forward to celebrating them next month at the Commissioner’s Summit for Principals,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart.

The 2018 Principal of the Year will receive a cash prize of $5,000, and the remaining Principal of the Year finalists will receive $1,500. The 2018 Assistant Principal of the Year will receive a cash prize of $3,500, and the remaining Assistant Principal of the Year finalists will receive $1,061.

The three Principal of the Year finalists are:


Eric Fleming, West Shore Junior/Senior High School, Brevard County
For more than 23 years, Eric Fleming has served the Brevard County School District in various teaching and administrative roles. To enhance team camaraderie, Fleming instituted a “Wildcat Winner” program at faculty meetings where teachers acknowledge each other’s hard work and dedication. He is often sought upon for his leadership expertise, and he serves on various committees that are focused on improving education. He is praised for leading by example and serving as a role model for his students, staff and community.

Kenneth Savage, James Stephens International Academy, Lee County
After serving successfully as principal at Veterans Park Academy for the Arts K-8, Kenneth Savage was appointed as a turnaround principal for James Stephens International Academy. In one year, Savage helped his school improve from an F to a B (based on 2016-17 school grades). He is commended for being a self-starter and critical thinker, and he is known as a diligent data user who always focuses on the ultimate goal – student achievement. He is a member of Principal Leads in Lee County and mentors other administrators.

Traci Wilke, Lawnwood Elementary School, St. Lucie County
With more than 20 years of experience in St. Lucie Public Schools, Traci Wilke is in her second year as Lawnwood Elementary School’s principal. Prior to joining the faculty at Lawnwood Elementary, Wilke was the principal at Samuel S. Gaines Academy where she contributed to a significant improvement in the school grade. Under Wilke’s leadership, Lawnwood Elementary’s school grade improved from a D to a C (based on 2016-17 school grades). She is known by her colleagues for going above and beyond for her school community and for her consistent track record of growth.

The three Assistant Principal of the Year finalists are:


Trisha Elliott, Crystal Lake Elementary School, Martin County
With more than 20 years of experience in K-12 education, Trisha Elliott joined Martin County School District in 2008 and held various roles before becoming the assistant principal at Crystal Lake Elementary School in 2013. Her focus on data, research, collaboration, and feedback has contributed to the upward trend in her school’s data. Last year, Crystal Lake Elementary School improved its school grade from a C to an A (based on 2016-17 school grades). Elliott believes that all students can achieve at high levels and succeed when authentic relationships are in place. She is committed to fostering relationships with and among staff members, students, families and community members.

Jackie Ramsey, Carver Middle School, Orange County
As the assistant principal for instruction at Carver Middle School, Jackie Ramsey is known as a dynamic leader who provides exceptional support and motivation to teachers at several Orange County schools. Ramsey believes that all students will learn when they receive quality instruction. At Carver Middle School, students’ reading proficiency is up by three percentage points, and the bottom quartile learning gains are up by four percentage points. Under her leadership, Carver Middle School has improved its school grade from an F to a C (based on 2016-17 school grades).

Tiffany Cantwell, The Webster School, St. Johns County
Tiffany Cantwell has served as an assistant principal within the St. Johns County School District since 2013. She was recently appointed as principal of Ocean Palms Elementary School. While serving at The Webster School, she had the opportunity to interact with a diverse student population with varying needs. Because of her dedication to student and teacher success, she was instrumental in helping Webster raise its school grade from a D to a B (based on 2016-17 school grades). Her colleagues praised her for having a can-do attitude, extraordinary organizational skills and for being a tremendous educational leader.

Candidates for these awards were nominated by the superintendent from their respective school districts. Complete lists of candidates from each district for both categories are available online: 2017-18 Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership District Winners and 2017-18 Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award District Winners.

For more information about Florida’s educator recognition and recruitment programs, visit http://www.fldoe.org/teaching/recognition-recruitment.


For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit www.fldoe.org.