Indian Creek Elementary School Principal Mrs. Stephanie Brown-Bryant was surprised on May 23 by Georgia State’s Principals Center Associate Director, Dr. Dionne Cowan, and DeKalb County School District (DCSD) officials, who delivered the news that she is the recipient of the 2022 Joe Richardson Award for Exemplary Leadership.
The award is presented by the Principals Center at Georgia State University and is named in honor of the founder of Georgia State’s Principals Center, Dr. Joe Richardson. The award is given annually by the Principals Center to a principal who most represents the mix of leadership attributes that provide for a school environment where both students and staff excel. The recipients exemplify the characteristics of an instructional leader within a community of learners and leaders.
Brown-Bryant is the first DCSD principal to win the award since 1996, when former Pine Ridge Elementary School Principal Barbara Miller received the honor.
“It’s humbling, and I’m honored,” Brown-Bryant said. “I really do love everything about my job, and I really am a servant-leader. I love my community, and I love being someone who can support and uplift.”
Brown-Bryant has been with DCSD for 25 years. Before becoming a principal, she served as an assistant principal for six years. During her four-year tenure as principal, Indian Creek has improved academically. The school’s overall score increased by almost 20 points from 2018 to 2019. Students showed a gain of more than 15 points in Content Mastery, which includes achievement scores in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies.
In ELA, the gain was more than 17 points. The school is also improving performance by closing academic achievement gaps among all student demographic groups, including economically disadvantaged students and English Language Learners (ELLs). In their recommendation letter to the Principals Center, DCSD Director of Leadership Development Dr. José Boza and Leadership Development Coordinator Kendra Fairweather said Brown-Bryant has been a bastion of support and strength for her staff and community through this unique time in education.
“When she is not engaged in visiting classrooms and providing feedback to teachers so they can improve their craft, you will find her in the school’s cafeteria, standing behind a metal serving cart, preparing meals, and serving students and staff,” they said. “And when it is necessary, she dresses in a superwoman suit, complete with a red cape and ecstatic attitude, to promote a hero-themed COVID-19 vaccine drive.”
Brown-Bryant credited her dedicated teachers and staff for helping her become a better leader.
“I am proud to have people who love their jobs. At Indian Creek, it starts with the children,” she said. “As adults, we remove our egos, and we have to be prepared to help the children. We do the work for the children and for our community.”