September 16, 2011

Chancellor Henderson names DCPS Principal of the Year 

Principal Maria Tukeva of Columbia Heights Education Campus to be Honored Sept. 19 at A Standing Ovation for DC Teachers

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Maria Tukeva, principal of Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC), has been named District of Columbia Public Schools Principal of the Year, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced today.

“A veteran educator with more than 30 years experience as a school leader, Maria Tukeva has proven her ability to guide and motivate students and teachers at what she describes as a ‘small city’ at Columbia Heights Education Campus,” said Chancellor Henderson. “By setting ambitious goals for her school community, Columbia Heights has made some of the highest DC CAS gains in the district during the 2010-2011 school year— nearly 15 percent in math and 12 percent in reading.”

Thirty-one years ago, Principal Tukeva founded the school now known as CHEC (originally called the Multicultural Career Intern Program) as an alternative school. She recognized that children who were learning English faced academic challenges that put them at a disadvantage. Nonetheless, she set high expectations for her students and continues to push her students to reach their academic potential.

“I have to keep thinking about what envelope to push next, what challenge we must overcome,” Tukeva said.

It is this foresight that has taken CHEC from a 40-student campus at its inception to a thriving school, complete with a daycare center and resources for families in the Columbia Heights community. With a student body of about 1,300 students, Tukeva gets to know each one and stays visible throughout the school day, visiting classrooms, the cafeteria, and the library to spend time with her students and staff. 

Tukeva will be honored Monday, Sept. 19, during A Standing Ovation for DC Teachers at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The second-annual event, featuring Grammy Award-winning recording artist John Legend and other national and local celebrities, will celebrates more than 660 DCPS educators who earned ratings of Highly Effective under the IMPACT educator evaluation system.      

As the first-ever award winner to receive the Excellence in Leadership Award, Ms. Tukeva will also be recognized as DCPS’ Principal of the Year. Ms. Tukeva will be recognized along with winners of the Rubenstein Awards for Highly Effective Leadership, which will honor an additional five DCPS principals. Twenty-seven teachers will also be recognized, seven with Excellence in Teaching awards, and twenty with Rubenstein Awards for Highly Effective Teaching.

For more information about A Standing Ovation for DC Teachers, visit http://www.standingovationfordcteachers.org/.

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