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DCPS Principal of the Year - 2014

Photo of Janeece C. DocalJaneece Docal, Principal, Powell Elementary School

Janeece C. Docal has a goal for her school community:  “I want to make sure they feel loved and heard and that Powell is a place of compassionate urgency and joy.”

She developed this mindset in her diverse background, spanning from serving at a Freedom School in Milford, Ohio and abroad in Nicaragua and El Salvador, to co-organizing the Common Futures Forum and Global Meeting of Generations for the non-profit International Development Conference in Washington, DC.

She began her career in school leadership by obtaining her Master’s in Education from The George Washington University.  She served as a Fulbright-Hays scholar to New Zealand studying curricular frameworks and reform efforts and as the Washington Post Cultural Ambassador and Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar to Japan. She completed her Education Specialist degree at The George Washington University in Educational Leadership and Administration and has taught as an adjunct professor for the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.  Mrs. Docal graduated from the Georgetown University’s Executive Masters in Leadership program with the McDonough School of Business in December 2013 and is completing her Doctoral Thesis with the University of Vigo, Spain.

Mrs. Docal began her time in school leadership as an Assistant Principal at the Columbia Heights Education Campus–Bell Multicultural Senior High School in northwest Washington, DC, where she was previously an educator for nine years (beginning officially in August of 2000). She is a New Leader for New Schools (cohort 2008) and became the proud principal of Powell Elementary School in July 2009 where her passion for her students, teachers, and community continues to inspire her work.

Powell is a Teacher Leader Innovation site, pilot of Tools of the Mind, an International Spanish Academy, the winner of the Fight for Children Quality Schools Initiative Rising Star Award 2012, and second place bilingual school of the year for the Embassy of Spain’s Colegio del Año 2013 award.  Last year Powell had the pleasure of hosting President Barack Obama, who released his budget and stated that all schools need high quality early childhood education like Powell.  Powell has also more than doubled enrollment, going from 200 to 450 students with a waiting list in just six short years, showing the renewed commitment from the community, and looks forward to opening this coming school year with full modernization and expansion.

During her time as a teacher with DCPS, Mrs. Docal was awarded the First Class Teaching Award for excellence in education and the Monarch Award for commitment to academics and service learning.  As principal with DCPS, Mrs. Docal was awarded the Rubenstein Award for Excellence in Leadership 2013.  She is humbled to accept this Principal of the Year Award on behalf of the Powell community (students, staff, families, community partners, central office support) — the award truly belongs to them, she believes, as it is a testament to their progress in school reform and turn around.  She is also appreciative of her supportive and loving family, and is excitedly awaiting, along with her husband Aser, the arrival of their first child, a daughter, this February 2015,whom she will teach the values she has learned from her experience at Powell —compassion, patience, resiliency, perseverance, and love, above all else.