Dr. Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Parish Public Schools, is pleased to announce the 2018 Principals of the Year. The winners were selected based on their commitment to academic excellence and increasing opportunities for students.
Representing Caddo Parish as Principals of the Year are: Marvin Rainey, Elementary School Principal of the Year, of Midway Elementary; Robin DeBusk, Middle School Principal of the Year, of Caddo Middle Magnet; and Marvin Alexander, High School Principal of the Year, of Green Oaks Performing Arts Academy.
The winners will now advance to compete at the state level in the 2018 Principal of the Year competition conducted annually by the Louisiana Department of Education and the Louisiana Association of Principals. Winners will be announced in July at the 11th annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration.
“These principals are absolute examples of working tirelessly to meet the needs of students,” Dr. Goree said. “Whether the leader of a school turnaround many years in the making or taking the No. 1 rated middle school in the state to new levels, these principals exemplify excellence and a commitment to grow themselves while challenging their students and teachers to never waiver in their commitment to improve the lives of students.”
Marvin Rainey, Elementary School Principal of the Year
Marvin Rainey long knew his heart was in the elementary classroom, however, he thought his path had led him toward teaching fourth to sixth grade students. That is until an opportunity came along he could not pass.
In 2014, Rainey was selected to lead the reconstitution and reconfiguration of Midway Elementary as part of the then-newly created Transformation Zone. As principal, Rainey quickly learned the prekindergarten through third grade configuration brought out the best of his talents as he worked with his staff to increase Midway’s school performance scores by 30 points during his tenure.
Rainey came into the principal position with a reputation of tenacity and enthusiasm as the assistant principal of Oak Park Microsociety. In his five years at the campus, he earned a following not only with the students and parents, but with teachers who looked to Rainey as an example for his innovative teaching methods and efforts to improve student performance. Rainey began in Caddo Schools in 2003 as a fifth grade teacher at Mooretown Elementary.
He is a proud graduate of Grambling State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He also holds a master’s degree in principalship from Louisiana State University in Shreveport and is anticipated to graduate from LSUS in May 2017 with a doctorate in leadership studies.
“I feel so honored to represent our district as Caddo’s Elementary Principal of the Year,” Rainey said.
“This recognition is Midway’s recognition because I am only as good as my team makes me. As the instructional leader of the campus, I inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more. This is what makes Midway and myself extraordinary in every way!”
Robin DeBusk, Middle School Principal of the Year
As principal of Louisiana’s top middle school, Robin DeBusk brings to Caddo Middle Magnet 23 years of experience in education with much of her expertise in the middle school setting. DeBusk began her career in Caddo Schools in 1994 as a fourth grade teacher at Keithville Elementary/Middle School after graduating from Louisiana State University in Shreveport with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
From the onset of her career, DeBusk brought liveliness and an innate ability to push students beyond even their own expectations of what was possible. In her first years, she gained attention for raising student scores well above the state average.
By 2001, DeBusk accepted a position at Youree Drive Middle School where she served as a sixth grade English teacher. Immediately DeBusk fell in love with the South Shreveport community and sought to also enhance her school and profession. She began advising student teachers as well as mentoring new teachers to ensure they were prepared and supported to be successful in the classroom. In 2005, Captain Shreve High School came calling with an opportunity for DeBusk to move into administration as assistant principal of instruction which included the assessment and guidance of the school’s teachers and staff while also working to meet the curriculum and resource needs of students.
When Dr. Goree became Superintendent in Dec. 2013, DeBusk was his first choice to fill the principal position at Caddo Middle Magnet and carry on the rich history of the school. DeBusk has not only brought a commitment to excellence, but also sought to build the culture of the school with the establishment of houses under the Ron Clark Academy model and additional student groups to allow students to truly come into their own while attending the campus. Meanwhile, the academic accolades for CMM have only continued to increase with the school growing another 10 points in two years – a difficult feat for a top-rated school.
“Being chosen as Caddo Parish Middle Principal of the Year is a wonderful honor,” DeBusk said. “I feel so lucky to be a part of Caddo Parish and Caddo Middle Magnet. Our family at CMM keeps me going every day. We have a fantastic group of students, parents and staff. Everyone in our building makes CMM a wonderful place to call ‘home.’ This year our feeling of CMM unity has made our family even stronger.”
For the girl who wanted nothing more than to help others, DeBusk continues to credit those along the way who made it possible.
“I grew up wanting to be a teacher,” she said. “I had many ‘students’ in my neighborhood–some more willing than others. Throughout the last 23 years, I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the best teachers and administrators. I feel so lucky to have learned from all of them.”
Marvin Alexander, High School Principal of the Year
After a generation of seeing their flagship school labeled as a failure, the citizens of the Cooper Road wanted nothing more than to see Green Oaks Performing Arts Academy return to its academic glory, but didn’t see how it would be possible. That was until Marvin Alexander arrived in 2009. A veteran educator, Alexander had spent the past 13 years at Huntington High School, serving the last seven as assistant principal. While he was known for his winning ability and efforts on the court as the school’s basketball coach in which he earned the title of District Coach of the Year, Shreveport Times City Coach of the Year and Louisiana 1-5A Coach of the Year, Alexander’s passion was long centered on academics.
The interweaving of basketball and academics is a key component to understanding Alexander.
“When I was a high school basketball player, I admired my head coach,” Alexander said. “From that time, I knew I always wanted to be a teacher/coach. During my time at Grambling, I obtained my education degree and began working at the university as an assistant basketball coach. Later, I decided to relocate to Caddo and began my teaching and coaching career. Coaching is my passion and first love, but a veteran educator told me I could be a greater asset as an administrator because I could impact more students. In every position I have had in Caddo Parish, I have always placed the utmost importance on academics.
When I was a basketball coach, I had 100 percent graduation rate from my players. I took the same philosophy when I became an administrator. To get results, I have found that you have to be fair, firm and consistent when interacting with students and faculty. I love what I do and I love serving the boys and girls in Caddo Parish Public Schools.”
That love for the students of Caddo Parish, and in particular Green Oaks, has been a driving force behind the school’s success. In the seven years since Alexander arrived, the campus has seen an academic turnaround from an ‘F’ rating to earning a ‘B’ in the latest round of testing.
In recent years, school has garnered attention regionally and statewide for efforts to improve graduation rates, ACT results and access to dual enrollment programs. Along the way, Alexander earned the support of the MLK Community and those who have seen generations attend Green Oaks.
“As I do some reflection and think about how far we’ve come, all the hard work we did in seven years is finally paying off,” Alexander said. “It hasn’t been easy, but to see that the school and the community are getting the recognition they deserve has my heart overflowing.”