From Dr. Hayes | Dr. Geiger Nominated as Principal of the YearDecember 10, 2021
P.K. Yonge Families — It is with great enthusiasm that I let you all know an application for Florida Principal of the Year has been formally submitted to FLDOE to recognize Carrie Geiger as our District Principal of the Year. We have received letters of support for her nomination and no doubt this formal recognition is long overdue. She has been on this campus every single day since March 13, 2020 when our world suddenly shut down. She has been leading, creating, responding, and supporting all of us—faculty, staff, students, families, coaches, and leaders—through the most difficult of circumstances.
Below you will find some of the words included in the letters to support her nomination:
Dr. Geiger exemplifies the qualities that an exceptional school leader should possess. She commits herself to supporting the faculty at P.K. Yonge to the highest degree. She recognizes and knows each child and family within her school family and she leads the school with a high degree of confidence and trust.
Dr. Geiger is the consummate instructional leader. As a classroom teacher for over 20 years before becoming an administrator, Dr. Geiger’s depth of pedagogical knowledge is unmatched. The faculty at P.K. Yonge recognize her expertise and her credibility is unsurpassed. She is seen as a partner in the educational process alongside faculty and staff. She has developed and led a remarkable teacher induction program that has onboarded and retained high-quality faculty during her tenure at P.K. Yonge. She cares deeply about the academic achievement and school experience of each student in her care.
Dr. Geiger is a presence at P.K. Yonge. Whether on the fields or on the stage or in the drop off zone morning or night, you can be assured that Dr. Geiger will be there with a smile and a greeting by name. She is present in every sense of the word. From her frequent posts on social media using the hashtag #proudprincipal to her ability to meet with a family and hear their concerns, Dr. Geiger is by far the most engaged administrator I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
Carrie cares deeply about our students. She collaborates with teachers, staff, and faculty to help students achieve their goals. She believes that all students, no matter their background, deserve to have a schooling experience that embraces them academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. Opportunity for all students is something that Carrie works toward as she leads. She initiated a Principal’s Diversity Council for students and families of color. She wanted to give them space and opportunity to inform the direction of our school. She knows that our underrepresented students and their families have school experiences that need to be heard. Deliberately making time and space for this work exemplifies Carrie’s inclination to work with stakeholders to adjust the schooling system with attention paid to everyone’s life experience.
Carrie is the great connector of our school. So much goes on at a K-12 school. There are students starting school for the very first time as a 5-year-old to those awkward years in middle school to figuring out how to be an adult leaving high school. Carrie works with all of them. It’s very rare to have a leader that personally connects with all ages and divisions in a school, but she does. She spends countless hours attending students’ events outside of school, connecting with families, and showing each student that she cares about them. You’ll find her at baseball games, field trips, language festivals, band performances, plays, robotics competitions – just about anywhere (on campus and beyond) our P.K. students are because she truly is a part of their lives.
When there was a midnight flood at the school last spring, Carrie was there in the middle of the night helping building services clean up. When there’s a school supervision post that is vacated because of an absence, Carrie will take on the duty. When there’s a lunch that needs to be covered, Carrie will take it. There is nothing that she is not willing to do to help the school. It’s tremendous to have someone like this on our team – someone that will always be there through thick and thin. She balances all of this while having a family of her own and a new grand baby; the dedication and love that she shows P.K. is an extension of her own family. We are so grateful to have Carrie as the Principal of P.K. Yonge.
Dr. Geiger has been an enthusiastic and driven leader around the school’s mission as she took the lead through her practitioner inquiry; followed by research, reading, and training, resulting in advocacy and insistence on transforming P.K. Yonge’s approach to student misbehavior. She was personally alarmed at the over-representation by some of our student groups in the referral process and dismayed that we were not more forward thinking about how to help our students grow and learn through our response to their misbehaviors. In her quest to improve our system, Dr. Geiger partnered with a consultant and trainer to bring together multiple stakeholders and leaders to better serve our students and their families. Now every faculty member has been trained and our response to misbehaviors has been transformed creating a safe and supportive learning environment for all students. A system that seeks to resolve conflict, address any harms, and mend relationships among those involved. A system that supports students as well as faculty.
Please join me in congratulating and thanking Carrie for all that she does for our amazing school! Wish her luck as she competes with principals from every Florida school district.
Lynda Fender Hayes, Ph.D.