David Alfonso Named Principal of the Year for Palm Beach County

David Alfonso Named Principal of the Year for Palm Beach County
Posted on 01/24/2019

David Alfonso, principal of Palm Beach Lakes Community High School, is the 2018-19 Principal of the Year for the School District of Palm Beach County.

The announcement was made during a celebration held at the Manatee Lagoon, an FPL Eco-Discovery Center and organized by the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County in conjunction with the School District.

“I wouldn’t be the principal of the year without the students, the staff and the teachers at Palm Beach Lakes Community High School,” Alfonso said. “We are a great school and it is thanks to all of them.”

When approached by District leadership in 2016 to take the helm of, then, struggling Palm Beach Lakes High School, Alfonso said yes without hesitation. The school was facing years of low student and teacher morale, lack of student discipline, a breakdown in systems across the school and the school was near failing, being placed on the Differentiated Accountability list to be monitored by the District and State.

Alfonso came into the school touting his career-long mantra “Make Success Unavoidable”. Two years later, the school has seen a complete transformation in culture, and academics; including significant learning gains in each subject and a graduation rate expected to reach 90 percent by the end of this school year.

Because he believes that “relationships with students are key to keeping peace at Lakes,” Alfonso greets each student daily with a handshake and says he knows every student, nearly 2,500 of them, by name. By implementing clear expectations and goals, reaffirming the excellence of the school and every student’s ability to learn, students are taking ownership of their success and pride in themselves and the school.

“With all of the responsibilities facing principals now, it’s a herculean effort to run a school,” said Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy. “I couldn’t be more proud of Mr. Alfonso’s success and the example he is setting for what strong leadership means to a school. ”

Alfonso was one of four finalists, one from each region, which also included Lisa Lee, principal of Orchard View Elementary School, Tarachell Thomas, from Pine Jog Elementary School, and Kimberly Thomasson from Gove Elementary School.

The impressive backgrounds of the four finalists, who were selected by the four Regional Offices, were then submitted to a panel of local community leaders. Their final recommendation was submitted to the School District. For more on each of the Principal of the Year finalists, click here.

“Today, our public school principals are modern day renaissance leaders. We need them to be budget experts, security experts, management experts, mental health counselors, surrogate parents…and oh yes…we also want them to educate our children,” said event host and Education Foundation President and CEO James S. Gavrilos. “You won’t find a more dedicated group of community servants anywhere.”

This year's celebration is sponsored by Comcast and supported by UnitedHealthCare, LRP Media Group, Johnson Controls and Office Depot who are the Presenting Sponsors for the four finalists.

All four finalists will receive a prize package donated by the local business community.

As the winner, Alfonso is now eligible for the Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership by the Florida Department of Education. The winner of the state award will be announced later this year.