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Conard Administrator Named High School Assistant Principal of the Year

Conard Assistant Principal Jamahl Hines. Courtesy photo

Jamahl Hines has been named 2022 High School Assistant Principal of the Year by the Connecticut Association of Schools.

By Ronni Newton

Jamahl Hines, who has been an assistant principal at Conard High School for nearly a decade, has been named 2022 Assistant Principal of the Year, the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) announced Tuesday.

The announcement noted that Hines was chosen for his “selfless and service-driven leadership and his ability to shift mindsets and practices towards more equitable and inclusive teaching and learning outcomes.” He was nominated by Roszena Haskins, West Hartford Public Schools director of Equity Advancement, who called him a “warm demander who works tirelessly to ensure that the voices of the most underrepresented and underserved are amplified.”

“Jamahl is a dynamic, dedicated, and passionate leader,” West Hartford Superintendent Tom Moore said Tuesday. “The Conard community loves him, and he connects with kids as well as any administrator that I have known. We are so fortunate to have him here, and he is well deserving of this recognition.”

Hines said the award really should shared by the other administrators as well as the teachers, parents, and students with whom he works. “Their hard work, commitment to learning, and passion for providing all students with the opportunity to achieve greatness inspire me daily. Assistant Principal of the Year represents my promise to serve them and all families to the best of my ability and I sincerely appreciate this opportunity,” he said in a statement.

“All students come with unique experiences, home lives, and backgrounds. It is my job to understand how those factors, along with any other personal challenges, might contribute to blocking our students’ paths to success,” he added.

The announcement notes that relationship-building is at the core of Hines’ success, and he fosters close ties to students so that he can best understand their individual needs and interests.

“He is the heartbeat of the school. He knows everyone’s story,” Conard parent Christina Martinez said in a statement.

Conard Principal Julio Duarte said, “I have never seen anyone connect with kids with the ease that Mr. Hines does.”

Hines is focused not only on academics, but also on social and emotional competence and he leads Conard’s School Climate and Culture improvement plan. Haskins noted that he worked to make all members of the school community feel safe, supported, and valued by celebrating their uniqueness.

“Mr. Hines models empathy and resilience,” Haskins said in a. statement. “He has been instrumental in leading Conard’s SEL and Social Justice work so that students can develop a positive self concept, manage emotions, build relationships and contribute to building an inclusive and socially just community and global society.”

“Mr. Hines coaches staff on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, fighting each day to create spaces for ALL children to be valued, seen, and heard,” noted Jocelyn Tamborello-Noble, World Language Supervisor for West Hartford Public Schools.

Hines, who grew up as the only Black student in an otherwise all-white school, is a role model and motivator for students of color – formally and informally nurturing their leadership skills. Recent Conard graduate Henley Solomon said Hines was the only black male educator he ever had. “He changed the culture at Conard, opening up ground for students of color, giving us license to exhale,” Solomon said.

Hines said his proudest accomplishment has been the creation of the Future Educators of Diversity (FEoD) program, which has expanded from a pilot at Conard to other school districts in the state as well as nationwide, and is designed to address “the lack of minority representation in education and to cultivate social justice advocates and leaders in the local and global communities.”

“Through the guidance of inspired adults, future leaders are being born,” Hines said.

CAS established the Assistant Principal of the Year program in 1990 “to bring recognition to the assistant principalship and to spotlight the critical role that assistant principals play in the education of our youth.” Administrators are recognized at the elementary, middle, and high school level, and the process of selecting the Assistant Principal of the Year includes a written application and site visits.

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